BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Patrice Bergeron is known as one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. It looks like the 34-year-old has plenty of offense left in him, too.
Bergeron scored two goals for the third consecutive game, and the Boston Bruins beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Friday night. Bergeron became the fifth player in Bruins history to score two goals in at least three games and the first Bruin since Cam Neely in 1988-89 to accomplish the feat.
“It’s one of those things where at times the puck’s going in, you get some puck luck and other times it doesn’t,” Bergeron said. “To me it’s always about details, making sure I play the right way and that’s where we’re at as a line. … It’s one of those things, you take it when it’s going well and you try to keep working on it.”
Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for Boston for his third shutout of the season and the 50th of his career. Brandon Carlo added an empty-net goal.
“It’s special, but it’s a team win right now,” Halak said. “We did a lot of good things. We just need to keep building on it, keep playing that way.”
Bergeron opened the scoring with 21.3 seconds left in the first. With Marcus Johansson in the penalty box for holding, Bergeron finished a tic-tac-toe sequence from David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, scoring on a low one-timer from the slot.
That line connected in similar fashion on Boston’s second goal with 1:34 left in the second. This time, it began with Pastrnak picking up the puck after a turnover by Jimmy Vesey. Pastrnak fed Marchand, who was in close on a 2-on-1 with Bergeron, and Bergeron had an easy finish.
“Right now it’s going in for him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Bergeron. “There was a stretch about a month ago it seemed like he couldn’t buy a goal. He was in great spots and goalies were making saves, or it was off the net. … Sometimes I think you get enough volume from good spots eventually you figure they’re going to go in and that’s what I think has happened.”
Linus Ullmark made 22 saves for Buffalo, which has lost five of its last six games.
“They’re a great team defensively. … That’s their game, they do a good job of it,” Sabres captain Jack Eichel said. “I thought we still had a fairly good amount of chances. Give Halak credit, I thought he played well. We didn’t capitalize on some of them and they did, so that was the difference.”
Buffalo had some positive moments in the third while attempting to get back in the game but was repeatedly thwarted by Halak and the Bruins. Buffalo outshot Boston 10-5 in the final period.
“We were really angry after the second period,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. “That was good that the group came back out and fought and tried to turn it, but it wasn’t there. I’ve seen Halak play very well. He was our goalie at the World Cup and he really had a good game today.”
Both goalies made their share of big saves. Ullmark stretched wide with his glove to stop Danton Heinen 1:40 into the game, and Halak had a big glove save of his own on Johansson with 3:35 left in the first. Halak also did a fine job of laying on the ice to cover up a potential loose puck with several Sabres buzzing nearby five minutes into the third and then again with nine minutes remaining.
NOTES: Sabres LW Jeff Skinner played in his 700th career game but left four minutes into the third with an injury and did not return. Skinner was attempting to check Pastrnak but clearly took the worst of the collision. … Bruins D Torey Krug was placed on injured reserve earlier Friday with an upper-body injury. Krug was injured in the second period of Boston’s 7-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday following a hard hit by Tom Wilson. … Buffalo recalled C Curtis Lazar from the AHL’s Rochester Americans before the game. It was his fourth recall of the season. … Sabres D Marco Scandella missed the game with an illness. D Zach Bogosian and LW Johan Larsson (lower body) were also scratched. … RW Brett Ritchie, RW David Backes and D Charlie McAvoy were scratched for Boston.
The teams have one day off before meeting again to close their home-and-home series Sunday night in Boston.
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