Brad Marchand and the Bruins return to everyone's favorite city for the penultimate stop in their season-high six game road trip on Friday.
Marchand made waves Thursday when he joked about Buffalo being the worst place to play in the NHL, but he's far from alone in that sentiment. Even hosting last year's World Juniors couldn't change the perception, with Ducks prospect Emerson Etem calling the city a "ghost town" while tweeting that it was the "worst city ever, it makes Medicine Hat look like paradise." Ouch, that's a lower blow than even anything Marchand has delivered.
While Buffalo might not be high on the list of vacation destinations of everyone from Patriots quarterback and hotel connoisseur Tom Brady to Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, who requested a windowless room in his hotel to avoid looking at the city, the Bruins have another reason to dislike coming to the city.
On their last visit to Buffalo earlier this month, the Bruins suffered their worst loss of the season, falling 6-0 on Feb. 8. Tuukka Rask was pulled early in the second after allowing three goals on just 10 shots. He may get a shot at redemption along with the rest of the club on Friday.
The Bruins held an optional morning skate, but both Rask and Tim Thomas participated and Rask was the first off the ice, traditionally the indication of that night's starter. Rask has played just once since that loss in Buffalo, giving up four goals on 25 shots in a 4-2 loss in Winnipeg. Thomas has played the other five games in that span and could be in line for a rest. A Rask start in Buffalo would also lineup Thomas to play Saturday in Ottawa, where he is 10-4-1 with a 1.92 GAA, .943 save percentage and three shutouts.
Shawn Thornton also participated in the morning skate after missing practice Thursday with a cold. He is expected to be in the lineup against the Sabres.
Buffalo will be without former Bruin Brad Boyes and tough guy Cody McCormick, both sidelined with upper-body injuries. Corey Tropp was recalled from the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Rochester.
Paul Devorski and Frederick L-Ecuyer will be the referees, with Derek Nansen and Scott Cherrey working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-Chris Kelly-David Krejci
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron-Carter Camper-Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee), Andrew Bodnarchuk, Josh Hennessy
Projected Sabres lines
Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Jason Pominville
Ville Leino-Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta
Corey Tropp-Matt- Ellis-Zack Kassian
Jordan Leopold-Tyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff-Mike Weber
Robyn Regehr-Andrej Sekera
Scratches: Brad Boyes (upper body), Cody McCormick (upper body), Marc-Andre Gragnani