BOSTON (AP) – Charlie Coyle scored on a wrist shot from space 34 seconds into overtime, and Boston completed a 4-3 comeback victory over the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday in the Bruins’ first game in 16 days.
When they played for the first time since Dec. 16, after six of their games were postponed due to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols and a league shutdown, the Bruins erased a 3-1 deficit as Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall scored early in the third period.
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Craig Smith also scored for Boston, and Linus Ullmark stopped 21 shots. The Bruins outscored the Sabers 41-24 and conceded a losing streak in two games.
Jeff Skinner and Vinnie Hinostroza both returned from COVID-19 minutes and each had a goal for Buffalo. Alex Tuch added a power-play score and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 37 saves for the Sabers, who have lost their last three games. Buffalo have lost 10 of their last 11 against Boston (1-9-1).
Also back from the minutes and back behind the bench was Sabers coach Don Granato.
After 3-1, Foligno lifted a backhander over Luukkonen to his first goal of the season. He looked cheering up at the ceiling after finally scoring.
Formerly Saber Hall tied it with a wrist from the slit.
Skinner rushed in to get a rebound and slipped it by Ullmark’s glove, giving Buffalo a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. Tuch’s first goal of the season made it 3-1 in the final minute of the second, sending the Bruins into the locker room at the end of the period for a whiff of buh.
Hinostroza’s goal had made it 1-0 just 6:33 inside the match.
Buffalo kept Boston off the scoreboard despite committing a penalty kick in the first minute of the first and second periods until Smith equalized it by knocking a rebound in when he fell to the ice.
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Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said his team was rejuvenated with the entire guard finally assembled after Coyle, the last player on the record, returned to training on Friday.
“When COVID takes you out, you’re a little more grateful for what you have,” he said before the match. “I think there’s a little more excitement with the group being together for the first time since training camp.”
LINE SHUFFLE WORKS
Cassidy moved Smith up to the first line and dropped David Pastrnak to the second.
“If that doesn’t work, we’ll move some pieces around,” Cassidy said in the morning.
REMARKS: The Sabers relocated defender Oskari Laaksonen and pass on Brandon Biro, JJ Peterka and Arttu Ruotsalainen to their AHL partner. … Boston has 16 games scheduled this month, 10 at home. … The Bruins won the first two meetings between the teams this season with an overall score of 9-2. Their final matchup of the regular season is scheduled for April 28 in Boston. … Fourteen years ago, the Sabers hosted Pittsburgh in the inaugural Winter Classic at the home of the Buffalo Bills.
Sabers: Host San Jose Thursday night.
Bruins: In Detroit on Sunday.
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