Twelve days have passed since the Boston Bruins last played the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins won the last contest 4-0 and seemed to be finding their game. As it is the Bruins record since has been 3 wins and two loses, while the Sabres have been 1 win and 3 loses. But lets not confuse the two teams with their records. The Bruins have looked anything but on track and have lost three starting defensemen since then. They start the game tonight with new looks to all four lines and one wonders if they have enough to beat back the Sabres at this time. On the other hand the Sabres are unchanged. Their Coach Ted Nolan has seen enough and called out his team two days ago as a team lacking effort and a roster of professional paycheck cashers. He has practiced his team as an unhappy high school coach with 90 minutes of drill and no scrimmage the last two days.
The Bruins in short order have lost Captain Zdeno Chara for 4-5 more weeks, Torey Krug with a broken finger for 2-3 weeks and no time limit on when to expect Kevan Miller to return from a separated shoulder. While the first line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and rookie Seth Griffith seem to have found their game, the other three Bruins lines are in disarray. Expect to see Patrice Bergeron with Chris Kelly and Simon Gagne tonight. The fourth line has Reilly Smith playing with Dan Paille and Greg Campbell. Brad Marchand may have hurt himself during practice with a groin injury and you could see Matt Fraser playing with Carl Soderbergh and Loui Ericsson. The word is after shutting out the Sabres in their last game, Niklas Svedberg will get the start tonight and that may be more to do with Tuukka Rask looking less than stellar recently. Matt Bartkowski maybe benched for Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman tonight. Expect David Warsofsksi to replace the injured Krug.
Keys to the Game: The Bruins need a sixty minute effort and need to play as a team. The forwards need to play a defensive support game and try for opportunities on the power play. While the penalty kill has been great of late, expect it to show some cracks as the defense has suffered some injury blows. We need third and fourth line scoring to escape with a win tonight.
Concerns: Ted Nolan is a great coach and may be able to get a great game out of his team tonight after calling them out and running them ragged in practice. The Sabres have a team that could push a depleted Bruins team around and if the Bruins can't score on the man advantage, the liberties might pile up. Expect the Sabres to run our defensemen all night in the corners.
Sidebar: Bruins should win on talent, but talent hasn't shown through on this team so far this season. Work effort is missing for big gaps in games, not sure where the find it tonight.
Until Next Time!