Bruins Vs. Sabres: The Little Ball of Hate Takes Center Stage

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Drew Stafford #21 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates scoring Buffalo's sixth goal against Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on February 8, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo won 6-0. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

It's a tough time of the season to get excited about what's happening on the ice with so much promise of things happening off of it. The Bruins have been rumored to be in on LA Kings forward Dustin Brown, but according to TSN this afternoon, Brown isn't available.

So there's still Rick Nash and, of course, there's the potential that old friend Mikey Rydah might be making his return to Boston not long after he left.

And in the midst of all that, the Bruins still have three games in the next five nights against two divisional opponents, one of whom they have a bone to pick with and the other which they have some points to gain on.

That swing begins tonight in Buffalo, which - as Brad Marchand has informed us - is the "worst city in the NHL."

As someone who spent four years in the Queen City, it's tough for me to agree with this. After all, the NHL has franchises in cities where crime rates are higher, the weather is colder, the attendance is lower and the cost of living is less accommodating. All in all, Buffalo isn't a bad place.

But that's neither here nor there. Last time Boston visited the First Niagara Center, the Sabres handed the Bruins a 6-0 drubbing as Tuukka Rask looked really average and the Bruins offense continued to struggle.

Rask's back in net tonight as Boston looks to avenge that defeat and build on the successes that they had in a 4-2 victory at St. Louis on Wednesday night in which Tim Thomas was superb and the offense - with newly-minted right wing David Krejci - did more producing than we'd seen from it in some time.

It's now been 43 days since Boston - which lost just four games in all of November and December - has won consecutive games. With a date looming at second-place Ottawa tomorrow night, getting two more points is an awful lot more important now than it's been in some time.

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