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Cruisin’ for a Bruin

Game 69

Buffalo Sabres (33-29-6) vs. Boston Bruins (52-11-5)

Puck Drop: 1:00 PM | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Know Your Opponent

Boston Bruins

Record: 52-11-5 | 109 PTS

Division Ranking: 1st in Atlantic

Last Game: 5-2 Win vs Minnesota Wild

PP: 11th (22.2%)

PK: 1st (85.7%)

What to Watch

1.  Defend the House

One of the more puzzling themes from the Sabres season is how poorly they’ve played at home.  With only 13 wins in 31 games, only the Ducks and Sharks have fewer home victories. It is a tall task to right the ship against the top team in the league, but Buffalo cannot afford to see any more points slip from their grasp. An advantage Buffalo must utilize is their relatively fresh legs. Boston is coming off a road win against Minnesota less than 24 hours before puck drop at KeyBank Center. The Sabres will need to match the Bruins’ energy early on and try to wear them down as the game goes on.

2. Top Line Rebound

Of the many frustrating aspects of Friday’s Flyers loss, the most surprising was the lack of production from the Sabres top line. It was one of the rare occurrences where Skinner, Thompson, and Tuch were held without a point. They generated plenty of offense and combined for 7 shots, but couldn’t cash in. Even with a tough matchup against the Bruins, expect a bounce back game from the trio. Simplifying their attack and avoiding overpassing will be the key to their success. The Bruins defenders are too good to allow them opportunities to break up scoring chances by attempting to make the perfect play. Buffalo forwards must be decisive when there is an opening and lethal in their execution.

3. Attack the Net

The Sabres will be getting the backup goalie treatment from Boston. Unfortunately, Jeremy Swayman is no slouch. He made 26 saves against Buffalo on 27 shots earlier this month. His goals against average (2.28) and save percentage (.917) rank 4th and 11th respectively among goalies who have played at least 10 games. Buffalo will need to obscure his vision and utilize quick releases to prevent him from properly positioning himself for the save. Look for Sabres power-forwards Greenway and Tuch to establish a net-front presence.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


Skinner – Thompson – Tuch

Peterka – Cozens – Quinn

Mittelstadt – Krebs – Olofsson

Girgensons – Jost – Okposo


Dahlin – Bryson

Power – Jokiharju

Stillman – Lyubushkin

Starter: Luukkonen

Boston Bruins


Marchand – Bergeron – Debrusk

Zacha – Krejci – Pastrnak

Bertuzzi – Coyle – Frederic

Lauko – Nosek – Hathaway


Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Lindholm – Carlo

Orlov – Clifton

Starter: Swayman

Talking Points