NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins

Bruins center Charlie Coyle reacts after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden in Boston. The victory came in the B’s first game back after a 16-day COVID layoff.

Back in action

Charlie Coyle scored 34 seconds into overtime in his return from COVID-19 protocol to lift the Boston Bruins over the visiting Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in the Bruins’ first game in over two weeks on Saturday afternoon.

Coyle took a feed from Brad Marchand through the right circle and skated into the high slot before sending his wrist shot into the top right corner of the net.

Craig Smith, Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall each scored for the Bruins in regulation. Linus Ullmark recorded 21 saves in net for Boston against his former team.

It was the Bruins’ first game since Dec. 16 after a six-game layoff due to the team’s COVID-19 outbreak and the NHL’s league-wide schedule pause.

Vinnie Hinostroza and Jeff Skinner each scored for the Sabres in their return from COVID-19 protocol. Alex Tuch also scored for Buffalo, which has dropped three straight since resuming play on Dec. 29. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 37 of 41 shots for the Sabres.

Hinostroza opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season for Buffalo at 6:33 of the opening period, scoring on a wrist shot from the high slot.

Smith pulled the Bruins even 3:47 into the middle period with his third goal of the season, on a rebound after Marchand’s one-timer from the right circle.

Buffalo answered with two goals in the latter portion of the second period.

Skinner scored for the 10th time this season, finishing off a rebound from the right circle to put the Sabres on top 2-1 at 11:32 of the second. Tuch’s first goal of the season on a snap shot in the slot with 49 seconds left in the second put Buffalo up by a pair.

Boston regrouped early in the third and scored twice in the opening five minutes.

Foligno’s first goal of the season came on a rebound at 3:24, pulling the Bruins to 3-2. Nearly a minute and a half later, Hall took advantage of an odd-man rush and wristed in a goal from the left circle to make it 3-3.

Boston earned a pair of early-season wins in Buffalo to open the season series, prevailing 4-1 on Oct. 22 before a 5-1 win on Nov. 24.