The Sabres finally got a puck past Tuukka Rask. They needed to do it more often.
After shutting out Buffalo in the first meeting, Boston's goaltender kept the Sabres quiet for the opening 49 minutes Saturday. Evander Kane solved him for his long-awaited first goal of the year, but Boston held on for a 2-1 victory.
"You start to think, ‘How are we going to get one by this guy?’" Sabres coach Dan Bylmsa said. "We just didn’t have enough whacks at it. We needed to keep going."
It was the first time in five games the Sabres failed to get a point in KeyBank Center. They fell to 4-2-1 in their last seven games overall.
Rask stopped 32 shots in a 4-0 victory Nov. 7. He made 35 saves Saturday.
"I don’t think we had glaring, clear-cut chances that he kind of robbed us on," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "We got some pucks to the net, and he made the first save. We’ve got to do a better job of getting the ones after that."
In front: The Bruins took a 1-0 lead with 5:50 left in the first. David Krejci got position in front of the net and reached out to tip Brandon Carlo’s point shot. The deflection went past goalie Robin Lehner, rang the post and bounced in. Buffalo entered the day 2-8-1 when allowing the first goal.
Solo effort: Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins up, 2-0, with 12:16 to play. He should have earned an assist, too. He streaked to the left side of the net and bounced the puck off his arm. He skated behind the cage, retrieved the puck on the right side and put it home with a backhand.
In the goal column: Kane's opening goal came in his 13th game. He took a pass from Sam Reinhart at the bottom of the left circle and got help from Krejci. Rask stopped Kane's shot, but Krejci was right on top of him. The puck bounced off Krejci and in with 10:48 left.
Reinhart extended his point streak to four games. He has two goals and three assists during the span.
No power: The Sabres went 0 for 3 with the power play. They generated just one shot on their opening two chances, but they tested Rask three times during their final one with 6:30 to play. Despite the zone time, Boston kept its 2-1 lead.
Guhle debuts: Defenseman Brendan Guhle, selected by the Sabres in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut. The 19-year-old skated in place of injured Josh Gorges (foot) and was paired with Cody Franson. He attempted seven shots while skating 16:20.
Guhle is on an emergency recall from his junior team. The first year of his contract would kick in with a 10th game.
“We felt like we needed to add some speed on the back end, some skating ability, and Brendan is going to provide that,” Bylsma said.
No goal: The crowd had a brief moment of joy during a quiet opening 40 minutes when the goal light flashed for the Sabres. Guhle took a point shot that captain Brian Gionta put into the net with 2:50 left in the second period. Gionta did it with a kicking motion, however, and the referees waved off the goal and disallowed it after video review.
"I was trying to kick it up to my stick," Gionta said. "It wasn’t at the net. I was hoping it would stay there. After the review, it kind of looks like a kicking motion. It’s a tough break."
Low output: The Sabres managed just three shots during the first period. They had a 3-0 lead with 4:44 gone, but they didn’t register anything in the final 15:16. The Bruins put up nine of their 10 shots during the final 10:29.
"I liked our first five minutes of the game, then it dropped off," Bylsma said. "We struggled getting out of the defensive zone. We turned the puck over there and gave them momentum, gave them opportunities. That’s how they get their goal."
Turnaround: The Sabres took two shots in the opening minute of the second and finished the period with a 15-11 edge. Rask turned them all aside to send the Bruins into intermission with their 1-0 lead intact.
Letterman: Right wing Kyle Okposo wore an "A" on his jersey, assuming the alternate captaincy vacated by Gorges.
Early exit: The Bruins lost left wing Matt Beleskey to a lower-body injury after first-period check by Taylor Fedun.
Counting the house: The Sabres announced a sellout of 19,070 fans, just their second packed house of the season (though plenty of 100 Level seats were empty). They also sold out the season opener.
The crowd included a sizable number of Bruins fans, who shouted, "Tuuuk," for Rask's notable saves.
Next: The Sabres will hit the road to visit the Washington Capitals on Monday night. After the second trip to the nation’s capital in 11 days, Buffalo will play four straight at home. The run starts Tuesday when NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers come to the arena.