A month ago, Matt Beleskey was a wildcard.
The forward was plateauing, riding several goalless streaks and struggled to permanently remove the monkey off his back.
The Bruins' brawny forward may have finally found his comfort zone.
In Friday's 4-1 win over the Sabres at First Niagara Center, Beleskey gave one of his best performances of the year in a blue-collar effort. In 13:21 of ice time, Beleskey displayed what it takes to establish net-front presence. For two of Boston's goals, Beleskey made Robin Lehner's job that much more difficult.
He planked his heels around the crease and wouldn't budge.
Twenty-nine seconds into the third period, Beleskey's efforts helped seal the victory with Zdeno Chara's game-winning goal. Beleskey's stingy net-front presence worked as a screen on Lehner with Chara slipping the puck past the goaltender.
The hard-noised play of Beleskey triggered the four-goal rally for Boston starting in the second period. At 1:01 of the period, Beleskey pounced on a Ryan Spooner rebound that trickled off Lehner and into the slot. Beleskey was on the forecheck when the Spooner rebound landed right in his lap. Beleskey pumped the puck behind Lehner for the quick strike.
Beleskey tussled with Sam Reinhart in front of the net for the Spooner goal. It was a battle that boded advantageously for Spooner, as he took a long-distance shot that deflected off the Buffalo forward and past Lehner at 10:53 of the third.
Brett Connolly sealed the victory with an empty net goal at 18:51. It was Connolly's first goal since Nov. 27.
The only blemish the Bruins faced game in opening frame. Colin Miller coughed the puck up from behind the net, causing Jonas Gustavsson to play catch up. David Legwand took advantage of the poor puck control and slid the puck past Gustavsson between the pads.
The Bruins are back at it tonight against the Maple Leafs at the TD Garden.
Christopher Bokum can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBokum