During their second game in the 2018 Prospects Challenge, taking place in Buffalo, the Boston Bruins were definitely not the crowd favorite. The Bruins stood across the ice from the hometown heroes, the Buffalo Sabres. Both teams were victorious in their first tilts on Friday, and for the Sabres, they were enjoying the impressive play and speed of their 2018 first round, number one overall pick during the NHL Draft in June, Rasmus Dahlin.
This was definitely a different game for the Bruins. They expected the speed and physicality of the Sabres. In fact, they were determined to attack; bringing their strongest skating game and bench boss Jay Leach was pleased with how his players skated each shift.
There were some changes to the two top lines, as they put Karson Kuhlman on the first line with Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson. Ryan Donato was the right wing of the line with Jakub Lauko and center Jack Studnicka. Coach Leach indicated that among other things, during this tournament, the coaching staff is looking at how the players adapt to changes in linemates.
For Kuhlman, the combination of the team’s decision to attack, and his linemates would result in his getting what would become the game-winning goal when he put the Bruins up 2-1 in the first period. Fitzgerald went in and put the puck on the Sabres’ goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who gave up a rebound that Kuhlman put into the net. Kuhlman would go on to pot the empty-netter with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
The second period saw no change in the score but did see quite a few players from both sides sitting in the penalty box. During the first five minutes, each team was whistled for two penalties. In all there were six: slashing, interference, high-sticking, two trippings and a holding.
The third period saw much of the same in the way of penalties, seven in all: two roughings, tripping, hooking, cross checking, holding and high-sticking. While there were a couple of four-on-four instances, during the man-advantages, neither team was able to capitalize.
Daniel Vladar stood tall and strong in between the pipes for the Bruins in his first opportunity of the tournament. It was his first game of the seaso, and he acknowledged that he didn’t feel quite on his game in the beginning. However, he was soon withstanding an onslaught, denying the Sabres. In all, he would see 38 shots and save 37. He certainly played as important a part as did his teammates who were scoring.
The Bruins will have practice on Sunday, but they will not return to play until Monday, when they will take on the New Jersey Devils, who are currently 1-1 in the two games