It may be their third road game in a row, but it's the first official "road trip" - the Bruins will head on to even snowier Winnipeg after finishing tonight's game. Can they get back at the Sabres to start it off right?
Just the Facts
Game Time: 7:00 PM at First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY. TV broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN). Radio Broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (7-1-1) vs. Sabres (5-6-1)
Get tickets here: Boston Bruins Tickets
Projected Sabres lines:
Vanek - Hodgson - Pominville
Foligno - Ennis - Stafford
Ott - McCormick - Hecht
Scott - Gerbe - Kaleta
Sekera - Leopold
Ehrhoff - Sulzer
Regehr - Weber
Projected Bruins lines:
Lucic - Krejci - Seguin
Peverley - Bergeron - Horton
Bourque - Kelly - Tardif
Paille - Campbell - Thornton
Chara - Boychuk
Seidenberg - Hamilton
Ference - McQuaid
The Bruins have some payback to dish out, and hopefully they can do it in Buffalo today. Luckily for them, it might be a little easier than last time Buffalo came around. Since that fateful day in Boston where the Bruins lost 7-3, Buffalo has only won two games - one against a deflated Canadiens team, and one against the Islanders last night. After coming out strong, the Islanders have lost four straight, and even against a crappy team, Buffalo had to rely on Ryan Miller completely stealing a game for them.
Whereas last time the Bruins played the Sabres it was their third game in four nights, the tables are turned this time - Winter Storm Nemo might actually have played out in the Bruins' favor. They haven't played a game since thumping the Habs on Wednesday, a game which they finished strong after Claude Julien switched Tyler Seguin onto David Krejci's line - you can take a look at the Fenwick numbers before and after the switch, thanks to our own Tom Servo, and it's pretty incredible how impactful that switch was. Conversely, the Sabres are in the Bruins' position from last time; this will be their third game in four nights. Will the tables be turned thanks to exhaustion/rest this time?
As always, the dangers to look out for against the Sabres aren't their barely-functional tough guys (Hi, 4 minutes of ice time John Scott!) but their underrated snipers. Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis, Jason Pominville, but especially Vanek, who seems to be able to ruin the Bruins' lives more often than not. Mikhail Grigorenko is a guy to watch out for, as well. Tyler Myers, Buffalo's young stud-turned-pylon of a defenseman, will be watching from the press box, while Robin Regehr returns to the lineup for that team.
UPDATE: The Sabres have elected to play tough guy Cody McCormick over touted rookie Grigorenko today. Make of that what you will. Over the last two seasons, McCormick has fought Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, AND Shawn Thornton.
On the Bruins' side, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, and Brad Marchand are gametime decisions, though it seems that the former two should definitely play, and Marchand likely will not. Anton Khudobin will get another look in net tonight - perhaps the lack of Tuukka Rask will be cause enough to confuse the tired Sabres into failing miserably. We can hope, right?
Additional reading: here's a criticism of the Sabres' Terry Pegula from the Buffalo News that's pretty interesting, in light of all that Pegula's done with that franchise over the last couple years.
John Scott is a douche. However, if you're one of the ones clamoring for Zdeno Chara to fight him....well, I'll reserve judgement for the comments.