Bruins Have No Room for Error Against Sabres as Race for Final Playoff Spot Tightens

Bruins Have No Room for Error Against Sabres as Race for Final Playoff Spot Tightens The Bruins welcome the newly crowned Northeast Division champions, Buffalo Sabres to the TD Garden for another crucial game in their push to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Sabres were here just 10 days ago when they beat the Bruins 3-2, but now there is even more on the line for the Black and Gold as the race for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference are even tighter.

The Bruins (85 points) lead the Rangers (84 Points) by a point for the final playoff spot and trail the Flyers (86 points) by a point for the seventh spot and Canadiens (87 points) for the sixth slot.

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (36-30-13) vs. Buffalo Sabres (44-25-10)
Thursday, April 8, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, MA

HEAD TO HEAD

This is the last regular-season game of the season between these Northeast Division rivals, with the Bruins 3-2-0 against the Sabres thus far. In their last matchup on March 29, the Bruins lost 3-2 to Buffalo.

GOALTENDING MATCHUP

Bruins
Tuukka Rask is 20-12-5 with a league-leading 1.99 goals-against average and .930 save percentage to go with five shutouts.

Tim Thomas
is 16-18-8 with a 2.55 GAA, .915 save percentage and five shutouts.

Sabres
Ryan Miller is 40-18-8 with a 2.23 GAA and .928 save percentage. The Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate has five shutouts.

Patrick Lalime is 4-6-2 with a 2.86 GAA and .904 save percentage.

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–Brad Marchand

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

Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Sabres
Forwards
Tyler Ennis–Jochen Hecht–Jason Pominville
Tim Kennedy–Derek Roy–Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe–Paul Gaustad–Mike Grier
Raffi Torres–Matt Ellis–Adam Mair
 
Defenseman
Tyler Myers–Henrik Tallinder
Andrej Sekera–Steve Montador
Toni Lydman–Chris Butler

Goaltenders
Ryan Miller
Patrick Lalime

STAT SHEET

Bruins

  • Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist Monday and is leading the Bruins with 52 points.
  • Dennis Wideman is having a nightmare season but has been better in the last two games with a goal and two assists.
  • Mark Recchi had an assist Monday and is third on the team with 42 points. On Wednesday, Recchi was nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Boston Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Sabres

  • Jason Pominville has four points in his last four games and 62 points this season.
  • Ryan Miller made 30 saves Tuesday and is second in the NHL in save percentage (.928) and third in GAA (2.23).
  • Recent call-up Tyler Ennis set a career high with three points Tuesday. He had a goal and two assists, giving him three goals and five helpers in seven games.

BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins
Andrew Ference is out until at least next week with a hernia and groin injury.

Mark Stuart is out for two weeks 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 eight weeks.

Marc Savard is out indefinitely with a Grade 2 concussion.

Shawn Thornton has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.

Sabres
Craig Rivet has the flu and is day-to-day.

Thomas Vanek suffered a lower-body injury March 27 and is day-to-day.

Tim Connolly
has a foot injury and is out indefinitely.

Patrick Kaleta
had surgery on his right thumb and is out until at least the playoffs.

OUTLOOK

With a depleted lineup, specifically on defense and a struggling offense, the Bruins have no margin for error. Just as they did for the majority of their 3-2 overtime loss to the Capitals, they must keep it simple and stick within their game plan. Discipline and focus are of the utmost importance. They've proven they can beat the Sabres already, and with a crucial two points on the line, they must prove that again.

Yardbarker

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