BOSTON – Ralph Krueger did not hide his admiration for the Boston Bruins on Thursday morning.
The Buffalo Sabres' coach called the Bruins "as disciplined and organized a team as there is in the NHL right now," yet Krueger wasn't looking to his Atlantic Division opponent as a blueprint.
Krueger wants the Sabres to forge their own identity. That goal remains a work in progress, as evidenced by their 3-2 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday night. Buffalo (10-9-3) has lost nine of its last 10 games and allowed a power-play goal for a seventh consecutive game.
Brad Marchand scored twice and David Pastrnak pushed the Bruins' lead to two goals in the third period. Boston (14-3-5) also received a remarkable performance from goalie Tuukka Rask, who made an incredible diving save on Evan Rodrigues during a third-period Buffalo power play.
Linus Ullmark started consecutive games for the first time this season and made 24 saves in his third career game against Boston. Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first goal of the season to end the Sabres' slump on the power play, and Brandon Montour added another goal with 7:02 remaining in regulation.
Bronx cheer: The crowd inside TD Garden let out a sarcastic roar when the Bruins recorded their first shot on goal with 7:49 remaining in the first period. The Sabres were outshooting Boston, 14-0, and led 1-0.
Slump ends: The Sabres snapped their 0-for-21 slump on the power play at 5:25 into the first period, when Ristolainen used his position in front of the net to capitalize on a rebound in front. The goal was Ristolainen's first since Jan. 5, 2019, when he scored during a 2-1 loss at Boston.
Rare air: With his primary assist in the first period, Jack Eichel factored into a seventh consecutive Sabres goal, tied for the longest run of his career. Only one player in Sabres history has factored in on more than seven consecutive team goals: Pat LaFontaine from Feb. 8-14, 1993.
Eichel also entered the game with 10 points in six career games at TD Garden.
Momentum gone: The Bruins tied the score at 13:52 into the first period when Marchand tipped Zdeno Chara's shot past Ullmark. During the first period, the Sabres outshot the Bruins, 17-4, and had eight more scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Boston nearly took the lead with less than 10 seconds remaining when Pastrnak was left alone in front of the net, requiring Ullmark to make a difficult save.
The Sabres had a negative-12 goal differential in the first period of games this season.
Milestone: This was Sabres assistant equipment manager George Babcock's 2,000th game.
Regression: The Sabres' power play went 0 for 2 in the second period and failed to record a shot on goal during their first opportunity. The second helped them generate some momentum, though, and they finished with a strong sequence that included Jeff Skinner hitting the post by batting the puck out of the air.
Bad timing: The Bruins scored on their first power play of the night, when Marchand scored his second of the game on a rebound off Matt Grzelcyk's shot from the blue line with 6:08 remaining in the second period.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres, 14-7, during the second period, despite allowing a pair of odd-man rushes.
Insurance goal: Pastrnak scored his 20th goal of the season at 1:56 into the third period, when he retrieved a rebound and shot into the open net on the power play. The Sabres were 0-8-1 this season when trailing after two periods.
Injuries: Forward Marcus Johansson (upper body) did not travel with the Sabres to Boston but is expected to join them in Florida this weekend. Forwards Vladimir Sobotka (lower body) and Kyle Okposo (concussion) remain out of the lineup. Defenseman Zach Bogosian (hip) is on the trip with the team, but he has yet to be activated from injured reserve.
Additionally, defensemen Colin Miller and John Gilmour were healthy scratches.
Next: The Sabres will not practice Friday and will return to the ice Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. They play the Florida Panthers at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday.