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Photo: Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports
Posted: Saturday, 31 December 2016 4:10PM

Bruins sweep season series; beat Sabres 3-1

Buffalo, NY (WGR550)  -- After losing a two-goal lead on Thursday night at the KeyBank Center, the Buffalo Sabres were looking for revenge against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at the TD Garden in Boston. But the Bruins get out to an early lead and hold on to beat the Sabres 3-1 and sweep the 2016-17 season series between the two teams.

With the loss on Saturday, The Sabres fall 10 points behind the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings. Boston currently holds the third and final spot in the division behind the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.

The Sabres went into the game without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov for the second straight game as he continues to deal with a lingering back injury. Sabres forward William Carrier left Thursday's game after suffering a hand injury after a fight with Adam McQuaid.

With Carrier out of the lineup, the Sabres called up Williamsville native Justin Bailey on Friday from the Rochester Americans for the second time this season. Bailey has been playing red-hot for the Amerks recently with five goals in his last four games, and points in his last five games.

For Boston, David Backes did not play after taking a hit from Carrier on Thursday night. The Bruins have confirmed that Backes suffered a concussion as a result of the hit.

The Sabres turned back to Robin Lehner in goal after stopping 34 of 37 shots he faced on Thursday. The Bruins also turned back to Tuukka Rask in goal after a 31 save performance.

It did not take long for the Bruins to get on the board with a goal from Frank Vatrano just 90-seconds into the contest. Vatrano put a shot on goal that looked to go off the stick of Jake McCabe and past Lehner on the blocker side.

A few moments later, Johan Larsson was knocked down by McQuaid while pursuing a puck into the Boston corner. Larsson would go into the boards and get his left arm caught up behind his body. Larsson left the ice holding his arm and did not return.

The Sabres had a chance to tie the game with 8:20 to go in the period with a 5-on-3 powerplay for 1:07, but the Bruins were able to kill off both penalties.

The Sabres were unable to get on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. The Bruins led 1-0 in the scoring department, and led in the shots on goal department, 9-5.

The Sabres' penalty kill was tested again after Jack Eichel went off for slashing David Pastrnak. With three-seconds left in the penalty kill, the Bruins went up 2-0 after Patrice Bergeron beat Lehner with a quick shot from the slot. Ryan Spooner and Brad Marchand were credited with the assists on the goal.

Just 2:25 later, former Sabre Tim Schaller gave Boston a 3-0 lead after beating Lehner with a soft backhand through the five hole. Tory Krug and Austin Czarnik were given credit for the helpers.

The Sabres finally put up a goal on the scoreboard in the dying seconds of the second period. After a drop pass from Rasmus Ristolainen behind his back, Eichel one-times a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beats Rask to cut the deficit to two. The assists on the goal were given to Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart.

The period ended with the Bruins up 3-1 with shots on goal all even at 18-18.

More injury news came down from the Sabres at the start of the third period. Defenseman Josh Gorges had suffered a hip injury during the game, and did not return to action.

The Sabres were able to put up a couple of good chances in the third period, but the Bruins would hold on to their 3-1 lead and win by that score. The final shot totals in the game ended in favor of Boston, 28-27.

Following the game, head coach Dan Bylsma updated the media on the injuries to Gorges and Larsson. Gorges left the game with a hip pointer, while Larsson suffered a dislocation in his arm. Bylsma says that Larsson's injury could result in him missing time on a week-to-week basis.

First Period

1-0 Boston - Bruins goal (1:30)
  • Frank Vatrano scores his second goal of the season on a shot that beat Robin Lehner on the blocker side. The lone assist on the goal was credited to Zdeno Chara.

1-0 Boston - Sabres penalty (8:23)
  • Cody Franson gets a two-minute penalty for hooking Anton Blidh. Sabres successfully kill off the penalty.
1-0 Boston - Bruins penalty (10:47)
  • Brad Marchand went off for two-minutes for slashing Jack Eichel. The Bruins are able to kill off the penalty.
1-0 Boston - Bruins penalty (11:40)
  • Tim Schaller goes off for two-minutes after hooking Rasmus Ristolainen. Boston was successful at killing off the penalty.
End of Period

Goal Summary
BUF: None
BOS: Vatrano (2)

Penalty Summary
BUF: Fanson - Hooking (8:23)
BOS: Marchand - Slashing (10:47); Schaller (11:40)

Shots on Goal
BUF - 5, BOS - 9

Second Period
2-0 Boston - Bruins powerplay goal (7:04)
  • Patrice Bergeron scores his seventh goal of the season on the powerplay. Ryan Spooner and Brad Marchand are credited with the assists.
3-0 Boston - Bruins goal (9:29)
  • Tim Schaller scores on a backhand that beats Lehner through the five-hole. Torey Krug and Austin Czarnik get the assists.
3-1 Boston - Sabres goal (19:38)
  • Jack Eichel scores on a one-time that beats Tuukka Rask on the glove side. Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhrat are credited with the assists.

1-0 Boston - Sabres penalty (5:06)
  • Eichel goes off for two minutes for slashing David Pastrnak. Boston scores with :03 left on the penalty kill.
3-0 Boston - Bruins penalty (10:55)
  • Kevan Miller is given a two-minute roughing penalty after a mix up with Evander Kane.
3-0 Boston - Sabres penalty (10:55)
  • Evander Kane is given a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after a mix up with Kevan Miller. Kane was also given a ten-minute misconduct.
3-0 Boston - Bruins penalty (13:02)
  • Dominic Moore was penalized for tripping Sam Reinhart, but the Bruins are able to kill off the penalty.

End of Period

Goal Summary
BUF: Eichel (7)
BOS: Bergeron (7); Schaller (5)

Penalty Summary
BUF: Eichel - Slashing (5:06); Kane - Unsportsmanlike conduct (10:55); Kane - 10 minute misconduct (10:55)
BOS: K. Miller - Roughing (10:55); Moore - Tripping (13:02)

Shots on Goal
BUF -13 (18) , BOS - 9 (18)

Third Period
3-1 Boston -
Bruins penalty (4:55)
  • Czarnik is called for interference on Sam Reinhart, but the Bruins are able to kill off the penalty.
3-1 Boston - Sabres penalty (9:17)
  • Ristolainen goes off for two minutes after a hold on Schaller. Buffalo was able to kill the penalty off.

End of Regulation

Goal Summary
BUF: None
BOS: None

Penalty Summary
BUF: Ristolainen - Holding (9:17)
BOS: Czarnik - Interference (4:55)

Shots on Goal
BUF - 9 (27), BOS - 10 (28)
Bruins - 3, Sabres - 1

Game Notes:
  • With the Bruins win, it is the first time in the Sabres-Bruins rivalry in which Boston has swept a season series with Buffalo. The Sabres lead the all-time matchup with a 121-120-29-15 record.

BUF - Lehner - 25 saves
BOS - Rask - 26 saves

Power Plays
BUF - 0 for 4
BOS - 1 for 3

Three Stars
1.) Tuukka Rask (BOS)
2.) Zdeno Chara (BOS)
Tim Schaller (BOS)
What's Next:
The Sabres will continue their three-game road trip in the Big Apple when they face the New York Rangers. Faceoff is at 7 p.m. and you can hear all the action on WGR with Rick Jeannaret and Rob Ray on the call.