Bruins takeaways: Mason Lohrei logs heavy minutes, too many passengers in preseason loss to Sabres


Mason Lohrei logged almost half-hour of ice time within the Bruins’ preseason loss to the Sabres.

Buffalo Sabres' Zach Benson tries to get the puck from Boston Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk during the first period of an NHL hockey preseason game Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Matt Grzelcyk had an harm scare in Boston’s loss to the Sabres on Tuesday. Joshua Bessex / The Buffalo Information by way of AP

The Bruins got here up quick of their second preseason recreation, falling to the Sabres, 4-1, on Tuesday evening at KeyBank Middle.

Oskar Steen scored the lone objective for the Bruins at 17:57 within the third interval, whereas beginning netminder Kyle Keyser stopped 20 of the 22 photographs that got here his method within the loss. Michael DiPietro changed Keyser within the internet throughout the second interval, ending with 11 saves on 12 photographs.

Listed below are a number of takeaways from Boston’s preseason bout in Buffalo.

Loads of passengers 

Boston’s preseason opener in opposition to the Rangers was an encouraging displaying on a number of fronts, with a number of prospects in Brandon Bussi, Matthew Poitras, and Johnny Beecher all making robust first impressions out on the ice. 

Tuesday’s follow-up efficiency in Buffalo was way more subdued. Past a choose few standouts, Boston’s lineup — particularly its youthful crop of gamers — struggled to make a large influence in what was a sleepy loss to the Sabres.

Postgame, Jim Montgomery famous on the NESN broadcast that he was impressed with Jesper Boqvist’s skating and two-way recreation, whereas Beecher posted one other stable efficiency (15:21 TOI, one drawn penalty, two blocks) as he tries to state his case for the group’s fourth-line middle spot.

However it was a quiet night for big segments of Boston’s ahead corps, with Oskar Steen’s late objective serving because the lone spark for an offense that was largely disjointed, particularly within the opening 40 minutes of play.

Regardless of Steen’s robust effort along with his netfront tally, a line of him, Danton Heinen, and Georgii Merkulov struggled to make a large influence at 5v5 play. Of their 4:03 ice time collectively, the Sabres held the sting in objectives scored, 1-0, and shot makes an attempt, 6-1.

It was removed from a great begin for a pair of PTO candidates in Heinen and Alex Chiasson (15:20 TOI, minus-1 ranking), whereas Merkulov had some prolonged O-zone lulls in opposition to Buffalo.

For the entire speak from Montgomery about wanting Boston to play with each tempo and a renewed emphasis on physicality, the Bruins logged simply 9 complete hits in opposition to Buffalo.

Simply two video games into preseason motion, the Bruins aren’t essentially rolling out probably the most stacked lineup at this stage of the summer time.

However Montgomery and his employees are on the lookout for AHL regulars, PTO gamers and a few roster-bubble candidates to make their choices more durable in the case of cutdown day. Sadly that wasn’t the case for many of Tuesday’s recreation.

Promise on the blue line

It was removed from a stellar evening so far as Boston’s D-zone protection was involved. However the Bruins did obtain a lift on the blue line within the play of each Mason Lohrei and Ian Mitchell.

The Bruins clearly had no qualms with handing Lohrei prolonged minutes in his preseason debut. The 22-year-old defenseman completed the sport with 29:01 of ice time, with Mitchell rating second on the group in ice time at 19:38.

Lohrei completed with an excellent ranking, two photographs on objective and the first helper on Steen’s objective after firing a puck in by site visitors from the purpose.

As anticipated, there have been some bumps alongside the way in which for Lohrei, who might want to proceed to iron out his D-zone play and decision-making to deal with the tempo up within the NHL.

Nonetheless, Boston appears dedicated to throwing Lohrei proper right into a heavy workload throughout preseason motion. Anticipate that to proceed shifting ahead, even when he seemingly wants some seasoning in Windfall to open the 12 months.

Mitchell, who landed in Boston by way of the swap with Chicago that concerned Taylor Corridor and Nick Foligno, was lively all through the sport. He made a number of poised outlet passes to attempt to spark Boston’s offense, and likewise routinely jumped up into the play when wanted. He completed with a team-high 9 shot makes an attempt on Tuesday.

Grzelcyk has harm scare

Only a few days after Boston misplaced each Patrick Brown and Jakub Zboril to harm of their preseason opener, the Bruins momentarily misplaced one other beginning blueliner on Tuesday in Matt Grzelcyk.

Grzelcyk, one of many few NHL regulars on Tuesday’s roster, exited the sport within the second interval after taking a puck beneath the belt. The 29-year-old defenseman made his method down the tunnel and didn’t return for the remainder of the center body.

However Boston did get some excellent news, as Grzelcyk returned within the third interval and finally logged 15:45 of ice time on Tuesday. Grzelcyk earned excessive grades from Montgomery on the NESN broadcast, with the Charlestown native as marketed along with his transition recreation and puck-moving capabilities.

Montgomery additionally said on Tuesday morning that each Brown and Zboril should not anticipated to overlook time. Brown practiced on Tuesday, whereas Zboril is predicted to return to the ice on Wednesday.

Devon Levi impresses for Buffalo

Tuesday may need been an indication of issues to come back for the Bruins in the case of matchups in opposition to the Sabres this season.

Buffalo has been on the upswing over the past two seasons, due largely to an inflow of younger, top-flight expertise. However the Sabres’ Achilles heel for years now has been a dearth of succesful goaltending because the days of Ryan Miller.

In the end, the Sabres have hope in 21-year-old netminder (and Northeastern product) Devon Levi. Levi was impressed in his two intervals of play in opposition to Boston on Tuesday, stopping all 19 photographs whereas hardly ever placing himself out of place in internet.

Expectations are excessive for Levi, who posted a stellar .943 save share over two seasons (66 video games) with the Huskies. But when he can set up himself as a confirmed No. 1 netminder, an already promising Sabres squad can take one other step ahead within the Atlantic Division.

That ought to frighten the remainder of the division, particularly golf equipment just like the Bruins and Lightning who’re making an attempt to metal themselves in opposition to up-and-coming rosters.

Unfastened pucks

It was a tough evening for defenseman Ryan Mast, who was within the sin bin for Buffalo’s first objective of the evening, after which inadvertently deflected the Sabres’ second tally previous Keyser 43 seconds into the second interval.

Some fairly good tempo from Milan Lucic in his first recreation with the Bruins since April 2015. The veteran energy ahead isn’t going to be successful many foot races, however was commonly engaged out on the ice. Judging from the reception in Buffalo every time he touched a puck, Lucic steamrolling Ryan Miller clearly hasn’t been forgotten.

A couple of stable shifts from Jakub Lauko, who tried to inject some power throughout the sleepier stretches of the sport. Nonetheless, he fell right into a tough spot after getting whistled for a slash within the second interval … after which getting assessed an interference penalty simply six seconds after exiting the penalty field.

The Bruins will proceed their preseason slate on Friday evening when Boston hosts the Flyers at TD Backyard. Puck drop is ready for 7 p.m.