Dan Bylsma called the first period the best and most energetic the Sabres have played all season. You could feel it in the building, especially after Marcus Foligno scored in the first two minutes of the game thanks to a perfect pass from Jack Eichel.
The Sabres added to their lead at the end of the frame, as Kyle Okposo beat Tuuka Rask with a shot so fast they had to go to replay to see it clearly hit the top corner of the net and popped out.
You can cue the most dangerous lead in hockey cliche, but these days it feels like every Sabres lead is dangerous.
The Bruins scored three straight goals, including a game-winner from Ryan Spooner with less than four minutes remaining, to defeat the Sabres 4-2. Buffalo is now eight points behind the Bruins, who sit in the third and final Atlantic Division spot in the playoffs.
The mood was tense in the locker room after, as audible swearing could be heard from the showers during interviews. It’s a wonderful example of the feeling Buffalo sports fans have after this week.
William Carrier was in the spotlight tonight after a big hit on David Backes which knocked the Bruins forward out of the game. Although replay shows it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, Carrier was hit with a penalty for illegal hit to the head.
William Carrier drills David Backes with a check to the head. pic.twitter.com/z1S4jQUp4g— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) December 30, 2016
Adam McQuaid went after Carrier when he exited the box, and the refs weren’t able to keep the two apart. It’s safe to say Carrier got in more punches in the fight, but it came at a cost. He lacerated his hand, taking him out for the rest of the game. Bylsma didn’t have an update on the severity of his injury.
Buffalo Sabres left wing William Carrier fights Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid in the first period. pic.twitter.com/3HDqz8gLkv— James P McCoy (@jmccoyphoto) December 30, 2016
1. Can the offense stay explosive?
It looked it in the first, but Rask, a notorious Sabre killer, was outstanding in the second period. The Sabres had numerous chances to score, including one attempt with Okposo right on the doorstep, but weren’t able to score a third time. The third period was a snooze fest, with Buffalo only getting seven shots off.
2. Can Sam Reinhart stay hot?
Reinhart had a secondary assist on Okposo’s goal, extending his point streak to five games.
3. Will the Sabres end 2016 on a high note?
Not losing two-goal leads would be a good New Years resolution for the Sabres. Buffalo has one more chance against Boston before 2017 begins.