BUFFALO, N.Y. — This time, the Boston Bruins had to win the hard way.
Jake DeBrusk scored for the second straight night, Anton Khudobin turned away 36 shots and Boston blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Tuesday.
Tim Schaller and David Backes added empty-net goals in the closing minutes as the Bruins won for the seventh time in 10 games. After a 7-2 victory over Columbus on Monday, the Bruins held off the Sabres in a low-scoring affair that included defenseman Kevan Miller getting into a fight and two crucial blocked shots by Noel Acciari.
“In the third, on the road, in a back-to-back, usually a team’s going to have a push and, I don’t want to be disrespectful, I don’t know if (the Sabres) had a true sustained push,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The Bruins came out flat in the first period, getting outshot 17-10. But they got a needed emotional boost when Miller dropped the gloves with Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian and won the fight easily.
“Whenever something like that happens it wakes the guys up, kind of gets them going,” Miller said. “I don’t think we were playing that bad at that point but I think it’s something that kind of sparks guys sometimes.”
Buffalo threatened to get on the board first in the second period, but Khudobin made a pad save on Evander Kane to keep the game scoreless. Then with 9:46 remaining in the period, DeBrusk carried the puck into the Sabres zone and fired a wrist shot over Robin Lehner’s shoulder.
DeBrusk has goals in consecutive games and four points in his last two.
“There’s ups and downs for everybody, but obviously the last two games, things have gone my way,” DeBrusk said. “I’m just trying to keep building.”
With less than two minutes to go in the second, the Sabres narrowly missed capitalizing on two scoring chances. First, Kyle Okposo was late passing to Benoit Pouliot on an odd-man rush. Moments later, Pouliot had his shot blocked by Acciari after Khudobin allowed a big rebound.
“You need to have those types of guys in the room,” Cassidy said of Acciari’s shot blocking. “They’re just good soldiers. It’s very much appreciated the hits he takes and the hits he gives and the shot blocks. All those little things that make a team of character.”
Khudobin stopped all 10 shots by the Sabres in the third to earn his first shutout of the season. The Bruins are 8-2-2 when Khudobin starts, and they needed him to stop 17 first-period shots.
“We need moments like this,” Khudobin said. “Back-to-back, maybe legs are heavy in the first period. That’s why I got the work. Moved a little bit more than usual, maybe, but everything went well.
“I’m glad I didn’t get scored on.”
NOTES: Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the Bruins are 219-13-15 when they carry a lead into the third period. … Bruins forward David Krejci missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. … The Sabres activated Jacob Josefson from injured reserve. He missed nine games with an ankle injury. … The Sabres have been shut out four times in their last 11 games and have 17 goals in that span.
Bruins: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Sabres: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday in the finale of a three-game homestand.
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