Important pre-deadline acquisitions. A goalie goal. A franchise record. Wins in different ways.
The Boston Bruins experienced just about everything while sweeping a four-game road trip through Seattle and Western Canada.
With eight more points in the bank to pad their overall NHL lead, the Bruins commence a four-game homestand with Thursday night’s visit from the Buffalo Sabres.
“There’s always a different hero, and that’s what’s special about that locker room,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “They kind of have a saying in the locker room: ‘Never a doubt.'”
Yet another example of the Bruins’ special recipe: Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win in Calgary was their eighth straight dating to Feb. 14.
The Bruins were outshot 57-20, but Dmitry Orlov had two goals and an assist in just his third game with the team, and Charlie McAvoy scored the deciding goal with 4.3 seconds left in the extra session.
One start after scoring the first goalie goal in Bruins history, Linus Ullmark made 54 saves to establish a single-game franchise record.
“We still find a way to come back and win like we have all year,” McAvoy said. “You can take a lot of confidence from a game like this.”
The Bruins are a bit banged up as forwards Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno are both unlikely to play Thursday due to lower-body injuries. Foligno left in the second period Tuesday after taking a hit along the boards.
Hall returned to Boston following Saturday’s game in Vancouver, but Montgomery did not have any further update on his injury before the team headed home from Calgary.
“I don’t think it’s anything serious, but with back-to-back games we didn’t see (Hall) playing so we sent him back,” the coach said at Tuesday’s morning skate.
Buffalo had won three straight games and five of six before Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Columbus.
The Sabres look to continue their road success in a second trip to Boston this season. Buffalo is 19-8-2 on the road vs. 12-16-2 at home.
“We get on the road, you’re not worried about making it perfect. It’s a more direct mentality,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “You can add up the numbers, obviously, home and road at this point of the year. I think just moving forward we just have to compete better, compete every night the same way whether it’s home or road.”
Rookie Jack Quinn had a goal and an assist, while Tage Thompson continued his stellar season with his 41st goal, becoming the fastest Sabre to the 80-point mark since 1992-93.
Thompson’s goal total ranks third in the league behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and the Bruins’ David Pastrnak, who has 42 but has not scored in three games.
Thompson and Jeff Skinner are in the midst of seven-game point streaks.
Quinn’s goal was the first of two in Tuesday’s third period, but Buffalo could not complete the comeback.
“Not a lot of lessons this time of year. You gotta win,” captain Kyle Okposo said. “We know our game. We know our foundation, we know what we have to do to be successful. We didn’t come out and play well enough in the first two periods to win a game. We move on and we try to win the next one.”
The NHL leaders will not make it easy, but one of the blemishes on Boston’s 24-2-3 home record is a 4-3 overtime loss to Buffalo on New Year’s Eve.
–Field Level Media