Preview: Sabres head to Boston to battle Bruins
Buffalo plagued with injuries; offense continues its inability to score
Buffalo Sabres (10-8-3) vs. Boston Bruins (13-3-5)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | TD Garden | Boston, MA
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Bruins Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder
Know Your Opponent
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.
Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary
Victor Olofsson - Casey Mittelstadt - Rasmus Asplund
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Curtis Lazar
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.
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Brett Ritchie
Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk - Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen - Connor Clifton
Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (expected)