The Bruins end the regular season against the Sabres with a 7-1 record.
Twelve different players registered at least a point in the win. Jeremy Swayman made 17 saves.
Contributions on the scoreboard came from all but the fourth line, although they had nine shots combined for their line.
Krejci and Smith both had a three-night game as the chemistry among the second line continued right from the start of the game with the opening goal.
The Bruins opened the scoring at 1:21 of the first period.
It was an all-around effort from the second line, with tic-tac-toe passing. After gaining entry into the offensive zone, Taylor Hall skated down to the right circle where he waited to pass to David Krejci in the opposite circle. Krejci found Smith at the top of the paint for a quick shot past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. 1-0 Bruins.
The Sabres tied the game with a shorthanded goal at 12:35 of the first period.
With one second left on Riley Sheahan’s penalty, the Bruins found themselves drawing another penalty and stayed on the man-advantage.
But the Sabres won their defensive zone face-off and being shorthanded, threw the puck down ice. Coming out of the box, Sheahan picked up the loose puck for a breakaway on Swayman where he beat his glove. 1-1 tie game.
The Bruins took the lead at 16:38 of the first period.
Nick Ritchie threw a wrist shot at Luukkonen. Kuraly picked up the rebound for a wide-open shot stick side on Luukkonen. 2-1 Bruins.
Sean Kuraly knocks home his first goal since Feb. 5.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 1, 2021
2-1 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/6MW1SesF9r
Kuraly’s line had good puck possession in the period for lengthy durations. They were always around the puck and had nice cycling with the B’s defense to keep pressure on the Sabres in the offensive zone.
The Bruins held the Sabres to only four shots in the first frame and outshot them 17-4. Matt Grzelcyk and Co. kept the Sabres out of shooting lanes by forcing them outside and towards the boards.
The Bruins added some cushion at 5:36 of the second period.
Jeremy Lauzon fired a blast from the left point at Luukkonen. Patrice Bergeron picked up the rebound in front of the net and backhanded a shot low past Luukkonen’s stick. 3-1 Bruins.
There were solid contributions throughout the lineup during the middle period.
In the second, David Pastrnak had some viable chances. He had his usual blast from inside the left face-off circle and another attempt coming across the paint. He was definitely searching for #200, but came up short.
Krejci, Hall and Smith flowed through the period with ease, connecting on passes and sending feeds out front to each other. They showed a sense of calmness with each other and patience with the puck in the offensive zone, as the chemistry between the three really shined through the first two periods.
The Bs ended the second period on the power play. Luukkonen was hurt during the the final moments of the period on his team’s penalty kill and did not return for the third period.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres 12-7 in the period.
Dustin Tokarski entered the game for the Sabres to begin the third.
The Bs got going early in the third to keep the offensive pressure steaming hot.
The Bruins added to their score at 3:18 of the third period.
Nick Ritchie got his stick on a blast from the left point from Grzelcyk and deflected the puck top-shelf past Tokarski’s stick. 4-1 Bruins.
The Bruins extended their lead at 5:31 of the third period on Smith’s second goal of the game.
Krejci sent a pass to Mike Reilly skating to the goal line where he found Smith in front for a quick shot past Tokarski’s stick. 5-1 Bruins.
The Sabres added a tally at 7:02 of the third period on their first shot of the final frame.
Arttu Ruotsalainen picked up the rebound off Rasmus Asplund’s shot and snuck the puck through Swayman’s five-hole. 5-2 game.
The Bruins retook their four-goal lead with a power-play goal as Smith completed his hat trick at 14:05 of the third period.
Krejci threw a hard pass to Smith who got his stick on it and redirected the puck over Tokarski’s glove. Final score: 6-2 Bruins.
With the win, the Bs moved into third (possibly temporarily for a few hours) in the East with 66 points. The New York Rangers and New York Islanders meet tonight, as the Bruins are now eight points ahead of the Rangers and one point in front of the Islanders.
The Bruins are back in action Monday for a two-game set on the road against the New Jersey Devils.