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Preview: Sabres travel to Boston in another crucial divisional matchup

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The Sabres and Bruins will meet for the fourth time this season as they jockey for position in the Atlantic Division

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Game 42

Buffalo Sabres (22-13-6) vs Boston Bruins (23-14-4)

Season series: 2-1 Bruins

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | TD Garden | Boston, MA

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Bruins blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Know Your Opponent

Boston Bruins

Record: (23-14-4) | 50 points

Last 10: 6-4-0

Division Ranking: 3rd in the Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 5th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 4th (27.8%)

PK: 12th (80.5%)

What to Watch

1.) 3rd Place in the Atlantic on the Line

As it stands, the Bruins and Sabres are tied with 50 points at the mid-way point of the season. The winner tonight will take possession (or in Boston’s case, retain possession) of third place in the Atlantic Division. With Jack Eichel sidelined again as he recovers from an upper-body injury, the Sabres will certainly have their work cut out for them against a tough divisional foe on the road.

2.) Bruins’ Reinforcements

The last two times these teams met, Boston was working with badly depleted roster. In the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime victory at KeyBank Center last week, they were without key players in Brad Marchand, David Backes, and defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The game before that, they were missing franchise center, Patrice Bergeron (among others). Marchand has since returned from injury and Backes has served the remainder of his three-game suspension. While McAvoy remains out of the lineup, the Bruins will ice their healthiest roster that the Sabres have faced this season (season opener notwithstanding).

3.) Sabres’ Offensive Production

In Thursday’s victory over the Florida Panthers, the Sabres offense performed much better than expected without Eichel. The boys in blue-and-gold managed to score four times while producing 33 shots on goal. If they hope to regain some ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race, they’ll need to rise to the occasion once again. After dropping decisions against Boston and New York in the past week, the Sabres simply cannot afford to lose any more games that could result in a four-point swing.

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Sam Reinhart

C.J. Smith - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Remi Elie - Casey Mittelstadt - Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary - Vladimir Sobotka - Tage Thompson

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Lawrence Pilut - Zach Bogosian

Marco Scandella - Rasmus Dahlin

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (unconfirmed)

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Ryan DonatoDavid KrejciJake DeBrusk

Sean KuralyNoel AcciariChris Wagner

Danton HeinenColby Cave–Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

Defense

Zdeno CharaBrandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Torey KrugJohn Moore

Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (unconfirmed)