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Preview: Bruins face Sabres for first time this season tonight

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The Bruins continue their road trip with the first of two match-ups against the Sabres.

NHL: DEC 29 Sabres at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7 PM

Where: KeyBank Center– Buffalo, NY

How to follow: NESN, ESPN+, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Die By The Blade

Know your enemy

  • 6-18-4 for 16 points, last in East
  • Sam Reinhart: 26GP, 11G, 8A, 19PTS; Victor Olofsson: 28GP, 8G, 11A, 19PTS; Taylor Hall: 28GP, 2G, 14A, 16PTS
  • Carter Hutton: 1-9-1, 3.43 GAA, .884 save percentage

Game Notes:

  • The Boston Bruins face the Buffalo Sabres for the first time this season tonight. The Bruins were supposed to host the Sabres for two games in February, but both were postponed due to Covid protocols. So here we are with the first of eight games against Buffalo and it couldn’t have come at a better time!
  • Although the Bs picked up a big win on Tuesday, they still need to improve 5v5 scoring. It took the Bruins 197:15 minutes to score that 5v5 goal since their last one on March 11. Hopefully facing a struggling Sabres team will build some momentum and confidence in that area.
  • Despite the Bruins losing ground in March, Matt Grzelcyk has bounced back from injury and contributed on the blue line. He’s registered one goal and four assists in his last seven games. Grzelcyk has had some of the best chances on the power play, with four of those points coming on the man-advantage.
  • The Sabres are really struggling and have lost 12 straight games. They’ve also lost their captain, Jack Eichel, for the foreseeable future due to injury. Most recently, the Sabres lost 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night and canned their coach over it. Jeff Skinner broke a tie in the second period, but a few minutes later Sami Vatanen tied the game for the Devils. Despite outshooting the Devils for most of the game, New Jersey scored a power-play goal in the third to hand the Sabres yet another loss. Don Granato, who has been an assistant coach in Buffalo since June 2019, will take over as interim head coach.
  • Defensive injuries are plaguing the Bruins. There is no word yet on Jarred Tinordi’s status, after leaving Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury from a hit by Brandon Tanev. If he’s unavailable, Urho Vaakanainen will likely take his spot. But then again, who knows. Maybe Bruce Cassidy will give Jack Ahcan a chance against Buffalo for a game. It might work to give Ahcan some NHL experience against the last-place team. We’ll see.
  • It’s safe to assume Jaroslav Halak will get the start in net, as Tuukka Rask has made progress skating with the taxi squad, but probably is still not ready. Look for the lineup post later after today’s morning skate!

See ya tonight!