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Sabres face Bruins for final time this season

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Buffalo looks to bounce back from Thursday’s loss in matinee matchup

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Game 52

Buffalo Sabres (13-31-7) vs. Boston Bruins (29-14-6)

Puck Drop: 1:00 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: (29-14-6)

Division Ranking: 4th in East Division

PP: 14th (21.1%)

PK: 2nd (86.2%)

What to Watch

1. Another Luukkonen Start

Today will mark Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s fourth career start and third against the Beantown boys. The Finnish goaltender has given some solid performances since his recent debut and, thankfully, is not easily frazzled under pressure. In his last two starts (against the Rangers and the Bruins, respectively), he has stopped a total of 73 shots and interim head coach Don Granato has made mention of his growing confidence and great focus. As the season closes out, it will be fun to watch Luukkonen continue to grow and perhaps turn into an integral part of this franchise in the seasons to come.

2. Marchand is Such a Pain

Brad Marchand, a thorn in the Sabres’ side for many years, is a top performer this season as usual. He leads his team with 33 assists and 60 points, ranked seventh in the league. Aside from his contributions to scoring, he is a pest that the Sabres need to address more physically (without taking too many penalties, of course). Top hitters from Buffalo during Thursday’s game included newcomers Drake Caggiula and Arttu Ruotsalainen. Perhaps they can throw some more bodies around - including Marchand’s - in today’s matchup.

3. Finish the series on a High Note?

As this is the final time these teams meet this season, perhaps the Sabres can bounce back from Thursday’s loss with a win this afternoon. Though Buffalo played well in the first two periods against Boston the other day, their third period fell apart and ultimately led to an ugly 5-2 defeat. A full, 60 minutes would be nice, boys (this has been a constant struggle this season)!

Projected Lineup

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Arttu Ruotsalainen

Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Drake Caggiula

Tobias Rieder - Riley Sheahan - Tage Thompson

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson - Will Borgen

Starting Goaltender: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (confirmed)

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall - David Krejci - Craig Smith

Trent Frederic - Sean Kuraly - Charlie Coyle

Nick Ritchie - Curtis Lazar - Karson Kuhlman*

*Kuhlman is a possible replacement for Chris Wagner, who has an undisclosed injury.

Defense

Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy

Mike Rielly - Kevan Miller

Jeremy Lauzon - Connor Clifton

Starting Goaltender: Jeremy Swayman (expected)