Andrej Sekera has been getting plenty of ice time in recent games as part of the Buffalo Sabres' shutdown defensive pair with Robyn Regehr. Sekera has helped keep the puck out of the net, posting a plus-3 rating the last 16 games. He finally got a good chance to put one in the other team's cage Friday night.
Sekera took a neat pass from Tyler Ennis and buried a snapshot past Boston goalie Tuukka Rask for Buffalo's only goal through the 65 minutes of play in their 2-1 shootout win over the Bruins.
It was Sekera's third goal of the season -- and first in 22 games dating to Dec. 16 against Toronto.
"I tried to play a sound defensive game and when there are openings sometimes I'm trying to jump into the play," Sekera said. "Sometimes, it works and sometimes it doesn't."
It worked fine in this case, as Sekera broke free inside the Boston blue line and got a perfect pass from Ennis.
"I think he saw me at the last second. My guy wasn't looking at me, so I saw an opening and jumped in," Sekera said. "I yelled, [Ennis] passed it right on my tape and I knew where I was going with it."
Sabres winger Brad Boyes missed the game with an undisclosed injury, although Ruff said Boyes could play tonight in New York against the Rangers. Corey Tropp was called up from Rochester and had three shots on goal, all in the first period, but was also hit with a pair of penalties.
Tropp has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 22 games in Rochester, including three goals and six assists in seven February games.
Tropp, 22, suffered a concussion here Dec. 9 against Florida and admitted he wasn't feeling right in three January games at Rochester so he sat out another month before finally returning.
"My goal coming back was taking it a game at a time and continuing to get better each night," Tropp said. "Just worry about getting back to competing hard and having that energy and enjoying being out there again. I've been pretty happy how I was playing down there."
The Sabres blocked 22 shots, including 12 combined in the third period and overtime. Jordan Leopold led the way with five, while Mike Weber and Tyler Myers stopped four each.
"We really dug in, we blocked some big shots and threw our bodies in front of a couple," said coach Lindy Ruff.
Weber made a big block in overtime against Boston's Zdeno Chara on a 4-on-3 penalty kill.
"We thought we'd key on Chara, make sure that we fronted him," Ruff said. "That's no easy task when you're telling your D, 'Hey listen, you're going to block the one-timer that's going about 105 [mph],' " Ruff said.
The Sabres have gone from 15th in the East and 10 points out of eighth to 11th place and five points back in just a week with a 3-0-1 run.
"There's a lot of teams here from ninth to 14th place," Ruff said. "We got our eyes set on eighth and it's going to take one heck of a run still. You've got to give the guys credit. They've been locked in for a good period."
The Sabres improved to 6-4 in shootouts this season. Ryan Miller is 4-2 and has stopped 15 of 22 attempts. The Bruins, meanwhile, fell to 7-2 and Tuukka Rask (2-2) has stopped only six of 14. Starter Tim Thomas (5-0) has stopped 16 of 17. Patrick Kaleta missed part of the second period due to migraines. The Sabres opened their 17th of a league-high 21 back-to-back sets. They are 10-7-0 in the first game and are 5-7-4 in the second. The Bruins are 8-9-2 in their last 19 games and have no two-game winning streaks since Jan. 10-12.