Buffalo - October 30, 2014 -
Who: Boston Bruins
Where: First Niagra Center, Buffalo, NY
Know thine enemy: Things haven’t exactly been going according to plan for the powerhouse Bruins. They’re off to a sluggish, 5-6-0 start and haven’t exactly gotten Vezina Trophy quality play out of goalie Tuukka Rask. He’s just 4-4-0 with a 2.81 goals against average and lowly .899 save percentage. Backup Niklas Svedberg has been better, with a 1.57/.951 line in four games.
Of course, even if the goaltending improves, there won’t be much to hang their hats on if the injury bug continues to bite. They lost Brad Marchand during Wednesday’s practice and it’s unclear if he’ll be available tonight. Torey Krug will miss 2-3 weeks with a broken finger and they’re already missing defensive centerpiece Zdeno Chara.
Of those still in the lineup, David Krejci continues to be a leader on this team, tied for the team-lead with three goals and leading with nine points. Lucic is turning in strong play with eight points and the team is deep offensively. If they can survive the attrition defensively and get better play out of their goaltenders, they should turn around. Of course, playing the Sabres is a remedy for whatever ails ya.
About the Sabres: There really isn’t much to talk about here. The team is awful offensively (10 shots against Toronto. TEN), defensively, on special teams (they still don’t have a power play goal this year) and only slightly better than awful in net.
The one thing worth talking about is the fact that this will be game nine for Sam Reinhart. What does that mean? It means that after tonight’s game, the team will have to decide if Reinhart stays in the NHL for the year or gets sent back to junior. I’ve made my thoughts clear on this before, but I’ll reiterate: send him down right now. He’s not gaining anything on this team, especially if he’s going to be playing bottom-six minutes. Let him dominate in juniors and come back when the Sabres have drafted another star player.
The last time these two met: These two met in Buffalo back on October 18th and it was ugly. The Bruins dominated the Sabres, shutting them out 4-0 in the midst of a nasty shutout streak that kept the Sabres off the board.
With the Sabres’ struggling offensively, the 2-0 deficit after one period was more than enough to consider it over and Svedberg was actually pretty good, stopping all 32 shots he faced.
The part where I predict things: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.
Score: 4-1 Bruins
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