Bruins, Sabres Meet for Game 1 Equipped With Strong Defense

Bruins, Sabres Meet for Game 1 Equipped With Strong Defense The Bruins and Sabres square off Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. This is the time of year that every player, coach and fan waits for. After a frustrating season, the Bruins have a chance to make up for it and come through when it counts against silver medalist Ryan Miller and the Sabres.

“We all play for this time of year and now we need to get it done,” veteran forward Mark Recchi said.

The Bruins have had their way with Buffalo this season and now it’s time for them to carry it over when it counts most. Let the real season begin!

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (39-30-13) vs. Buffalo Sabres (45-27-10)
Game 1 Eastern Conference quarterfinals
April 15, 7 p.m. (NESN)
HSBC Arena Buffalo, NY

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bruins were 4-2-0 against the Sabres this season. The Bruins have outscored the Sabres 14-11 this season.

GOALTENDING MATCHUP

Bruins
Tuukka Rask is 22-12-5 with a league-leading 1.97 goals-against average and .931 save percentage to go with five shutouts. Rask had a 4-1 record with a 1.43 GAA and .954 save percentage against Buffalo this season. Rask made 33 saves in the 4-2 win over Carolina last Saturday and has not lost in regulation since a 1-0 loss to Florida on April 1. He was 4-1-1 in his final six starts.

Tim Thomas 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 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. He was 2-0-2 against the Bruins this season.

Patrick Lalime was 4-8-2 with a 2.81 GAA and .907 save percentage this 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
Tyler Ennis–Tim Connolly–Jason Pominville
Tim Kennedy–Derek Roy–Thomas Vanek
Adam Mair–Paul Gaustad–Mike Grier
Raffi Torres–Matt Ellis–Patrick Kaleta

Defensemen
Tyler Myers–Henrik Tallinder
Craig Rivet–Steve Montador
Toni Lydman–Chris Butler

Goaltenders
Ryan Miller
Patrick Lalime

STAT SHEET

Bruins

  • Patrice Bergeron has been an amazing two-way player for the Bruins this season and was tied for the team lead in points with 59.
  • David Krejci had 22 points in 20 games since the Olympic break and tied Bergeron for the team lead.
  • Michael Ryder scored two goals in the season finale Sunday, notching his first lamplighters in 12 games.

Sabres

  • Thomas Vanek returned from a lower body injury last Saturday and scored five goals in the Sabres last two games. He led the team with 28 lamplighters.
  • Derek Roy had three goals and three assists to finish the season with a four-game point streak. Roy led the team in points with 69.
  • If not for being out with a foot injury since March 26, Tim Connolly most likely would have led the Sabres in points, but he finished second to Roy with 65. Connolly will play.

BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins

  • Andrew Ference has a hernia and groin injury and is a game-time decision.
  • Mark Stuart is out for at least another week 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.

Sabres

  • Jochen Hecht is a game time decision with an upper body injury.
  • Drew Stafford is questionable with a concussion.

OUTLOOK

The Bruins know they match up well with the Sabres and now they must go out and show why. This promises to be a series revolving around goaltending and defense, so there will be little margin for error. The Bruins must keep it simple but they also need to take their chances if they see a clear path to the net. If they can have such a balanced approach, they should be able to find the success they had in the regular-season series with Buffalo in the playoffs.

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