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Bruins bounce back to beat Sabres

12.21.13 at 9:41 pm ET
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The Bruins avenged Thursday’s loss to the Sabres by earning a 4-1 victory Saturday at TD Garden in their final home game before the Christmas break.

Reilly Smith got the B’s on the board in the first on a power play goal off a feed from Carl Soderberg, with Zemgus Girgensons tying the game by sneaking a puck over Tuukka Rask‘s right arm as he tried to hold the post. The Bruins re-took the lead in the second period on a David Krejci goal to cap a strong rush and added to it in the third period with Milan Lucic‘s team-leading 12th goal. Smith’s nipping at Lucic’s heels, however, as Smith scored an empty-neter for his 11th of the season.

Rask made 32 saves saves in the win, while Jhonas Enroth took the loss after Ryan Miller stood tall for the Sabres Thursday.

The game also featured the first career regular season fight for Patrice Bergeron in the NHL. Bergeron dropped the gloves with Buffalo blueliner Tyler Myers in the second period in a bout the taller Myers took.

The Bruins will play the Predators Saturday in Nashville before breaking for the holiday and returning to work Friday at TD Garden against the Senators.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Krejci now has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) over his last 14 games. His multi-point night came as part of a strong effort for his line Saturday, as Lucic also scored and Jarome Iginla was stoned by Enroth on two solid opportunities.

– Carl Soderberg to Reilly Smith in front on the power play for a goal. Sound familiar? It should, as it’s the third time it’s happened this season.

– The Bruins made it through a pair of 5-on-3 shorthanded situations without allowing a goal. The first one came in the second period when Gregory Campbell drew blood on a high-stick on Jamie McBain just 11 seconds into a Patrice Bergeron cross-checking penalty. The Sabres turned in a brutal showing, while a bad call on John Scott ended a third-period 5-on-3 in short order.

– Torey Krug still has just one goal over his last 12 games, but he factored in Saturday in other ways. He moved the puck well on the shift on which the B’s scored the go-ahead goal, but he also handled some major responsibility in the second period on the second shift of the 5-on-3.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– With Bergeron’s cross-checking penalty and his second-period fight with Myers, No. 37 now has 13 penalty minutes the last three games. He had only 12 in the previous 33 games of the season. There will be no Lady Byng trophy in the near future for Bergeron.

– On the subject of Bergeron fighting, it is obviously a super bad idea. Given that he’s had four concussions in his NHL career and he’s one of the best players in the game, there is nothing to be gained by having Bergeron spend five minutes in the penalty box or risk any injury.

– Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was something of a wrecking ball in the first period, as a collision with Brad Marchand forced Marchand to miss a couple shifts. He also hit Zdeno Chara in the left hand with a shot, which forced Chara to ice the hand on the bench.

Marchand got dinged up in the second period as well when he blocked a slapshot from Myers. He was slow to get off the ice but stayed in the game.

– Rask had to save Marchand’s bacon on a tough shift for No. 63 in the first few minutes of the third period. Marchand turned the puck over in the defensive zone to set up two quick bids from Matt Ellis and Linus Omark, with Marchand unable to get the puck out on his next clearing attempt either.

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