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Bruins strike three times in second period, end home losing streak in win over Sabres

Three powerplay goals, timely saves and improving middle-line play gave Boston its 4th win in the last 5 games.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

TD Garden hasn’t been kind to the Boston Bruins for the better part of the past 365 days, but on Monday night things were different. Boston brushed off a sluggish start, scoring three times in the second period — twice on the power play — en route to just their second win in five home contests.

Brad Marchand notched his 5th goal of the season 5:44 into the middle frame, wristing a loose rebound past Robin Lehner — screened by David Pastrnak and Matt Beleskey, who each picked up assists on the play. For Beleskey, a healthy scratch last week in Florida, it was his first point of the season.

A pair of double-minors against Buffalo — Zemgus Girgensons (high sticking) and Jake McCabe (tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct) — gave Boston a golden chance some five minutes following Marchand’s goal.

With Beleskey’s pointless streak over, David Krejci became the latest Bruin to end a drought. Krejci fired a slap shot past Lehner, giving the much-maligned Czech center his first goal of the season — a welcome sign on a team desperate to establish consistent secondary scoring.

Riley Nash concluded Boston’s dominant middle frame, firing a shot from along the left boards. The fluttering puck deflected off the skate of defenseman Dmitry Kulikov — engaged with a net-driving Beleskey — and past Lehner. It’s Nash’s first goal as a member of the Bruins and his second point in as many games.

Rask bailed the Bruins out in the opening frame, making 13 saves, including a highlight reel glove-save on Sabres winger Kyle Okposo with Boston shorthanded. He later stoned Brian Gionta’s second period breakaway to preserve Boston’s then 2-0 advantage.

Rask finished the game with 32 saves, which was truly fitting, as the Finnish savior earnied his 32nd career shutout — passing Tim Thomas for 3rd among Bruins goalies.

Boston’s final goal came courtesy of David Pastrnak, slamming home a rebound on Boston’s eighth power play try of the night. The B’s finished 3 for 8 on the man advantage, hopefully building some much needed confidence heading into tomorrow’s night tilt against Montreal.

Behind the bench, head coach Claude Julien picked up his 400th career win as a member of the Bruins. Now that’s a spicy meatball.