Bruins Eye Third Straight Quarterfinal Win Over Sabres

Bruins Eye Third Straight Quarterfinal Win Over Sabres The Bruins have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Buffalo Sabres.

If they were to do so, they would be in position to clinch a berth in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday in Game 5 at Buffalo. Should they lose, the Bruins will return home for another playoff game to what has become a raucous TD Garden. Needless to say, they’re hoping they win Wednesday night and position themselves to not have to return home until the second round.

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (2-1-0) vs. Buffalo Sabres (1-2-0)
Game 4, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
April 21, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, MA

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bruins lead this best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 will be in Boston at TD Garden Wednesday night with Game 5 back in Buffalo on Friday.

GOALTENDING MATCHUP

Bruins
Tuukka Rask is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .936 save percentage after making 32 saves in the 2-1 Game 3 win. He was 22-12-5 this season with a League-leading 1.97 goals-against average and .931 save percentage to go with five shutouts.

Tim Thomas
is 0-0-0. He was 16-18-8 with a 2.55 GAA, .915 save percentage and five shutouts this season. In his only appearance against Buffalo this season, Thomas was pulled after allowing three first period goals in a 3-2 Bruins loss.

Sabres
Ryan Miller
is 1-2-0 with 2.36 GAA and .929 save percentage in the playoffs. He made 27 saves in the 2-1 loss in Game 3. He was 41-18-8 this season. He was second to Rask in GAA (2.22) and save-percentage (.929) and just like Rask Miller had five shutouts.

Patrick Lalime is 0-0-0. He was 4-8-2 with a 2.81 GAA and .907 save percentage this regular season. He made 31 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Bruins April 8.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Bruins
Forwards
Milan Lucic–Patrice Bergeron—Mark Recchi
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid

Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Sabres
Forwards
Tim Kennedy–Derek Roy–Jason Pominville
Tyler Ennis–Tim Connolly–Drew Stafford
Raffi Torres–Paul Gaustad–Mike Grier
Chris Butler—Adam Mair–Patrick Kaleta

*
Thomas Vanek is highly doubtful but didn’t rule himself out completely. Also, Matt Ellis missed practice yesterday due to a broken nose from the hit he took from Johnny Boychuk. Cody McCormick was called up from Portland of the AHL.

Defenseman
Henrik Tallinder–Tyler Myers
Andrej Sekera–Craig Rivet
Toni Lydman–Steve Montador

Goaltenders
Ryan Miller
Patrick Lalime

STAT SHEET

Bruins

  • Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winning goal in game 3, getting his first playoff goal in 19 playoff games dating back to the Bruins seven-game loss to the Claude Julien-coached Canadiens in the first round of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs.
  • Dennis Wideman scored the game-tying goal in game 3 and added an assist. Wideman now has points in five of his last eight games including the regular season.
  • Mark Recchi set-up the game-winner in Game 3 and now has two goals and an assist in the series.

Sabres

  • Raffi Torres and Henrik Tallinder have both registered an assist in two straight games
  • Cody McCormick who was called up Tuesday from Portland in the AHL, had a team-high 168 PIMs over 66 games with the Pirates.
  • The Sabres are 0-for-12 on the power play.

BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins

  • Mark Stuart is out for at least the first round following surgery for cellulitis on his right pinky finger.
  • Dennis Seidenberg had surgery for a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm and is out for six more weeks.
  • Marc Savard is still out with a concussion but has been skating and could return this series.

Sabres

  • Matt Ellis is a game time decision with a broken nose.
  • Thomas Vanek is doubtful for tonight’s game with a sprained ankle.
  • Jochen Hecht is out indefinitely after left pinky finger surgery.

OUTLOOK

With the exception of the eight goals scored in Game 2, this has been the low-scoring series everyone expected but that could change if the Sabres get desperate. Buffalo may try to open it up and use their speed and that can either hurt or benefit the Bruins.

The Sabres are the faster team but if the Bruins maintain their defensive system and Tuukka Rask remains steady between the pipes, the effect of that speed will be minimized.

Yardbarker

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