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Preview: Sabres head to Boston to battle Bruins

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Buffalo plagued with injuries; offense continues its inability to score

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Game 22

Buffalo Sabres (10-8-3) vs. Boston Bruins (13-3-5)

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

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Know Your Opponent

Boston Bruins

Record: (13-3-5) | 31 points

Last 10: 5-2-3

Division Ranking: 1st in Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 3rd in Eastern Conference

PP: 3rd (28.8%)

PK: 9th (84.1%)

What to Watch

1. Buckle Up, Buffalo

It comes as no surprise that it is another season and another year of the Bruins being an elite team (and the Sabres, well, not). It makes you wonder if General Manager Jason Botterill is feeling the pressure to make some roster moves now more than ever. Or, will he continue to sit on his hands until it is too late?

Boston is completely stacked (aside from their insane offense, they have two playoff goaltenders in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak) and this will be a very tough game to play in as a member of the team and to watch as a fan. Remember when they played the Capitals a few weeks ago? And the not-so-great Wild on Tuesday only to get embarrassed at home? It seems that both the best and worst teams are tough opponents for the Sabres. So, expect the worst, but hope for the best.

2. Early adversity

The only advantage the Sabres have over last year at this point is that it is still the first half of the season. Surely no one forgot this same feeling around February (or earlier depending on your outlook at the time) last year when Buffalo tumbled downhill at a scary speed. The frustration was palpable during Tuesday’s game against Minnesota, but even more so when Jack Eichel of all people received a double minor penalty for roughing. It sent the message that something has to give.

Hopefully the offense (besides our captain) can start producing more than one goal per game. We are not asking for much!

3. Two words: David Pastrnak

At the top of the league sits star winger Pastrnak with an impressive 19 goals and 15 assists. He is averaging 1.62 points per game and will definitely be among the many Bruins players to keep an eye on tonight. The Bruins are also coming off of a big 5-1 victory over New Jersey, during which - you guessed it - Pastrnak scored two goals.

Game Prediction

Projected Lineup

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary

Victor Olofsson - Casey Mittelstadt - Rasmus Asplund

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Curtis Lazar

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Colin Miller - Brandon Montour

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Zach Bogosian - Marco Scandella

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (expected)

Head Coach Ralph Krueger mentioned Wednesday afternoon that Mittelstadt may move to winger to help open up play-making between Asplund and Olofsson, who played together last year.

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Brett Ritchie

Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner

Defense

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk - Brandon Carlo

Urho Vaakanainen - Connor Clifton

Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (expected)