Preview! Sabres @ Bruins 11/12/11
The Sabres and Bruins have some striking similarities as of late. Both teams have Vezina-winning American goalies for starters and upstart European youngsters for backups. Both teams play a defensive style of hockey but are capable of 5 goal outburts. Both teams are currently riding four game winning streaks and are 6-4-0 in their last ten. So it figures that they play each other tonight in TD Garden, another chapter in their hate-fueled rivalry.
Game preview after the jump!
(Majority of preview lifted from NHL.com’s game preview, with commentary by yours truly)
Last 10: Buffalo 6-4-0; Boston 6-4-0
Season Series: This will be the first of six meetings between the two Northeast Division foes. Last season, the Sabres took four of six games from the eventual Stanley Cup champs.
Big Story: Both teams are riding four-game winning streaks. The Sabres extended theirs on Friday with a 5-1 win at home against Ottawa, while the Bruins continued their offensive tear by beating Edmonton 6-3 on Thursday.
While the Sabres’ 3 goals per game is impressive by any measure, the Bruins’ November average of 5 goals per games is downright ludicrous. For a defensive team, the B’s can put up serious points. The Sabres will need to get their act together in their own end if they don’t want to be the Bruins’ latest victims.
Who’s Hot: The Sabres’ offense during the winning streak has been led by Roy, who has four goals and eight points in the four games. .. Boston’s second-year center, Tyler Seguin, has eight points in his past five outings.
While Roy has been gonzo in the scoring department lately, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville continue to be the model of consistency. It also helps that Drew Stafford and Ville Leino have picked up their scoring. For the Bruins, Seguin is proving his worth as last year’s 2nd overall pick but he certainly has help from the likes of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Both are big wingers that can be mean or score – any team would be lucky to have them.
Injury Report: For the Sabres, center Jochen Hecht remains out indefinitely with a concussion, while Tyler Ennis is week-to-week with an ankle injury. … The Bruins will be without defenseman Andrew Ference (lower body), Daniel Paille (nose), Rich Peverley (undisclosed), all of whom are day-to-day.
While the Sabres may not be missing Ennis’ offense, it sure feels like they could use Hecht’s defensive awareness out there. His concussion problems are certainly unsettling, with even Lindy Ruff now not feeling so good about the veteran forward. The Bruins may have three players out, but are still doing pretty well without them. The Sabres won’t be getting any favors from the infirmary today.
It’s an early season test for the Sabres as they take on the hard-charging Stanley Cup champs. How will they respond to having Ryan Miller back in net? Will the secondary and, to a lesser extent, tertiary scoring continue? Is Tyler Myers finally going to look like 09-10/late 10 Myers again? The Sabres could use another win versus the division but the Bruins have been in beast mode as they try to prove their early troubles were just a fluke. It’s gonna be a tough one tonight.