Bruins try to solve home woes vs. Sabres
BOSTON — Despite serious injuries to key players, the Buffalo Sabres ran up a 4-1-2 road record to start the season.
The Boston Bruins, who missed the playoffs for a second straight year last season because of poor home play, are 1-3-0 on home ice to start the new season (6-5-0 overall).
On Monday night, when the two old Adams Division foes meet at TD Garden, Buffalo (5-4-2 overall) will be coming off a 2-1 victory at Ottawa Saturday night while the Bruins were thumped 5-2 by the New York Rangers on home ice.
Robin Lehner was outstanding in goal for the Sabres — who lost Jack Eichel and Evander Kane early and Zach Bagosian recently — Saturday, his 32-save performance the key to the fourth road win of the year. Last year, Buffalo, which finished dead last in the NHL, was 9-29-3 away from home.
Lehner beat his old team Saturday.
“No matter who we played today, it was a win we needed,” he said after the game. “We don't want to lose two in a row. I think we can learn a few things from this game, but the way we came out in the third after our first goal and the big (penalty kill) we had, we can take some positives too.”
Lehner is 4-3-1 with a 2.14 goals against average and .929 save percentage this season — and is 3-6-3 with a 2.64 goals against average and .925 save percentage lifetime against Boston.
The Bruins, who won the last three of a four-game road trip, yielded two shorthanded goals and one power play score to suffer another home loss on Saturday. They were just 17-18-6 at home last season — again barely missing the playoffs.
“We were feeling good about our game,” said defenseman Torey Krug. “We didn't play well (but won) in Florida, but Detroit and Tampa, we played well. We wanted to use that momentum to move on into our building.
“We started out well. I thought, five-on-five, we played a pretty good game. We played fast; we were getting a majority of the chances. I thought their goaltender played well. Like I said, the power play let us down. Two goals against, no goals for, that's a big part of it. For a while now, that's been a big part of our team, that power play. Right now, we're not getting the results.”
The Bruins have scored just three power play goals, while surrendering three shorthanded scores.
Tuukka Rask suffered his first loss in the Boston net in seven games this season. He didn't play well and may have tweaked the lower body injury that caused him to miss four games.
With a Tuesday date in Montreal waiting, it wouldn't be a shock to see rookie Zane McIntyre in goal for his second NHL start Monday.
The Sabres worked out at the Bruins' new practice facility Sunday. Sam Reinhart, who scored the winning goal Saturday, turned 21 and got a face full of shaving cream from teammate Marcus Foligno during the practice.
“That's Marcus for you,” Reinhart told the Buffalo News. “I was kind of wrestling with (Matt) Moulson in the corner, so I didn't see it coming. It was stuck in the ear a little bit, but a shower helped.”
Said Foligno: “He doesn't know what's going on around him most of the time, so it was pretty easy.”
Tyler Ennis and Dmitry Kulikov both missed the Buffalo practice Sunday, but just to rest. Asked if he expects both to play Monday, coach Dan Bylsma said, “I expect them to play well.”
The Bruins, who canceled Sunday practice, won three of the four games between the teams last season but the Sabres took three of a possible four points in the two games in Boston.