Kuraly scores in OT to give Bruins 3-2 win over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Looking for a rare comeback victory, the Boston Bruins swarmed the Buffalo Sabres in the third period on Saturday night.
In overtime, an unlikely source did it all by himself.
Sean Kuraly scored 3:44 into the extra session to give the Bruins a 3-2 win. It was Boston’s first victory this season when trailing through two periods after going 0-11-1 previously.
“I just wanted to get it on net, really,” Kuraly said. “I got more on it than I really thought.”
Kuraly’s third goal of the season came on a terrific one-man effort. His initial shot from the top of the left circle led to a big rebound, and Kuraly followed up with speed to chip the loose puck into the net with one hand on his stick.
“I saw it was a forward I was coming down on,” Kuraly said. “I just wanted to get there first. ... I was just going on like, whatever, intuition I guess.”
Jake DeBrusk and Noel Acciari scored in regulation for Boston, which improved to 21-14-4 ahead of Tuesday’s Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.
“To be able to come back, that’s another feather in our cap for being able to do it that way,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We needed it a lot. We wanted to enjoy these two days. Let’s face it, for a lot of guys it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go up to South Bend. ... You want to go there and enjoy it.”
Johan Larsson and Marco Scandella scored for Buffalo. Carter Hutton stopped 38 shots.
“I thought we played a very strong 60 minutes,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “You can’t fault our effort. We attacked the game. It’s going to be like this for the rest of the season where it’s going to be tight.”
The Sabres had a prime opportunity to win with a power play in overtime but were unable to test Rask in the extra session.
“It goes to overtime and it can go either way,” Larsson said.
The Bruins poured it on in the third, outshooting Buffalo 18-5, and were rewarded with DeBrusk’s power-play goal with 2:29 remaining. With Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen in the box for kneeing, DeBrusk capped a critical Bruins power play by tipping home Torey Krug’s long shot from the point to make it 2-all.
Scandella opened the scoring 4:40 into the game after a big effort by Sabres leading scorer Jeff Skinner. He raced around Zdeno Chara for a partial breakaway, which was stopped by Rask before Scandella buried the rebound.
A giveaway by Skinner, however, led to Boston tying it five minutes later. Acciari’s ensuing shot was off target but ricocheted off Ristolainen for Acciari’s first goal of the season.
Buffalo regained the lead on a short-handed goal 5:43 into the second. With Jack Eichel in the penalty box, Evan Rodrigues connected with Larsson on a 2-on-1 for Larsson’s fourth goal.
It was the eighth short-handed goal allowed by the Bruins this season, most in the NHL. It was also Buffalo’s first short-handed goal.
The teams split the final two periods of regulation, with Buffalo dominating the second and Boston dominating the third.
NOTES: Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret returned to the booth. The Hall of Fame broadcaster had a health scare a week earlier, leaving Buffalo’s game against Anaheim on a stretcher and being taken to the hospital. The 76-year-old Jeanneret has done play-by-play for the Sabres on radio or television since 1971. ... Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. The fourth-line center has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 35 games. ... Sabres G Linus Ullmark was scratched due to illness. Buffalo recalled goaltender Scott Wedgewood from the AHL’s Rochester Americans to fill the backup role. ... David Backes (suspension) and LW Brad Marchand (upper body) were scratched for the Bruins. Backes served the first of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head.
Bruins: Off to South Bend, Indiana, for the Winter Classic on Tuesday against Chicago.
Sabres: Home against the New York Islanders on Monday.