The Bruins are 0-2-1 in their last three games after riding a lose-one-win-one streak until Tuesday night’s loss in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Sabres have stumbled a bit, going 1-2-0 after an 8-2-1 October to start the season.
When And Where
Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Bruins (6-7-2 14 points, fourth in Northeast Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)
Sabres (9-3-1) 19 points, First in Northeast Division, Third in Eastern Conference
Head to Head
This is the first of six meetings between these division rivals. The next three games will take place at HSBC Arena in Buffalo on Nov. 20, Jan. 29 and Feb. 9. The Bruins then host the Sabres on March 29 and April 8.
Last season, the Bruins struggled against the Sabres, going 2-3-1, but the Bruins lead the all-time series 110-101-29-5.
The Bruins finally lit the red light on Thursday night, but they will need more than one goal against the first-place Sabres, one of the stingiest and potentially explosive teams in the NHL. While the B's are getting chances, they know they still need to finish both even strength and on the power play. But they seem to be maintaining a positive attitude after salvaging a point against Montreal.
"The fact that we broke the seal and got a point, it should be a positive thing," said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who made 25 saves in the 2-1 shootout loss.
The Sabres, meanwhile, are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Flyers, but Buffalo has been one the best teams in the NHL thus far thanks to strong defense and splendid goaltending from Ryan Miller. Miller did no lose in regulation through nine games and, like Thomas, is competing for the Team USA goalie job at the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver.
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Brad Marchand
Shawn Thornton–Trent Whitfield–Byron Bitz
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Andrew Ference
Thomas Vanek–Derek Roy–Drew Stafford.
Clarke MacArthur–Tim Connolly–Jason Pominville.
Jochen Hecht–Tim Kennedy–Mike Grier.
Matt Ellis–Paul Gaustad–Patrick Kaleta.
Craig Rivet–Chris Butler
Andrej Sekera–Steve Montador
Henrik Tallinder–Tyler Myers
Tim Thomas is 4-6-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .916 save percentage. Thomas has one shutout this season.
Tuukka Rask is 2-1-1 with a 2.41 GAA and .915 save percentage. Rask has one shutout this season.
Ryan Miller is 9-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .936 save percentage.
Jhonas Enroth has not played an NHL game. With Miller playing and losing Friday night, Enroth may get his first NHL start against the Bruins.
Forward Patrice Bergeron leads the team in points (nine) and goals (five).
Defenseman Derek Morris is second on the team in scoring with eight points and tied with captain Zdeno Chara in assists with seven.
Injured center Marc Savard (four goals, three assists), forwards Marco Sturm (two goals, five assists) and Blake Wheeler (four goals, three assists), and Chara (seven assists) are tied for third in points with seven each.
The Bruins have been outscored 38-32 through 14 games, averaging 2.13 goals per game and allowing 2.47 goals per game.
The power play continues to struggle this season. After going 0-for-3 against the Canadiens, the Bruins are now 0-for-20 on the power play since their last goal on the man advantage, a Morris tally against Philadelphia on Oct. 22, six games ago. They now have the worst power play in the league at 6-for-55 (10.9 percent).
The Bruins have allowed a league-high three shorthanded goals.
The Bruins killed off both Canadiens power plays Thursday night and have allowed 11 power-play goals on 52 opportunities against them. They are killing off the opponents’ power plays at a 78.8 percent clip.
The Bruins are 4-4-1 at home this season, 1-0-1 against the Northeast Division and 3-3-2 against the Eastern Conference.
Forward Tim Connolly (four goals, eight assists) leads the team in points.
Forward Derek Roy (two goals, nine assists) leads the team in assists and is second on the team in scoring with 11 points.
Forward Jason Pominville (three goals, seven assists) is third on the team in scoring with 10 points.
Forwards Thomas Vanek (five goals, two assists) and Clarke MacArthur (five goals, two assists) are tied for the team lead in goals with five.
Buffalo's prized 6-foot-8, 222-pound rookie defenseman Tyler Myers (three goals, four assists) leads the team's blue line in points with seven and goals with three.
The Sabres are outscoring their opponents 37-29. They’re averaging 2.85 goals per game and allowing 2.23 goals per game.
Buffalo is 13-for-63 on the power play and scoring at a 20.6 percent clip.
The Sabres' penalty kill has only allowed eight power-play goals on 44 opportunities against them and has a success rate of 81.8 percent.
Buffalo is 4-1-0 on the road this season, 1-0-1 against the Northeast Division and 6-3-1 against the Eastern Conference.
Black and Blue
Forward Marc Savard was placed on long-term injury reserve with a broken left foot Oct. 21 and is expected to miss three to four more weeks.
Forward Milan Lucic was placed on long-term injured reserve Oct. 18 with a broken index finger. He had successful surgery on Oct. 19 and is hoping for a mid-November return.
Goaltender Patrick Lalime suffered a groin injury in practice last Monday and is out indefinitely.
Defenseman Toni Lydman suffered a groin strain Oct. 21 and has missed the last six games. He is day-to-day.
This Date in Bruins History
Bobby Orr records his seventh career hat trick and adds three assists as the Bruins beat Washington 10-4 on Nov. 7, 1974. It is Orr's fifth career six-point game.
"I don’t think we are going to see too many backdoor tap-ins right now. It’s going to be dirty goals that just bounce their way in — hit a skate, hit a face, whatever it takes. We know we have it in the locker room. It’s going to turn around. We just have to do it now.”
–Forward Blake Wheeler on what it will take to start scoring
The Bruins need to build off their late goal on Thursday night.
Daniel Paille is looking forward to playing his former teammates.
Milan Lucic is aiming for a Nov. 19 return.
According to Kristen Merrill, the Bruins need to wake up from their early-season slumber.
Former Bruin, Hall of Famer and WWII veteran Milt Schmidt will be on the Inside Hockey Radio Show on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. ET.
Here's the game story from a rare flat game by the Sabres on Friday night.
David Oleksy of Die By The Blade answered a few questions about the Sabres in the latest edition of Across Enemy Lines.
The Sabres' centers are hoping to stay quick on the draw.
Jhonas Enroth, the Sabres' top-rated goalie prospect, may get his first NHL start Saturday.
Who is the best NHL player that may never win a Stanley Cup? Puck Daddy takes a gander.
As the legendary Red Fisher points out, Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood and Ducks center Saku Koivu are coming around.
Habs goalie Carey Price is feeling confident after a 42-save performance in a 2-1 shootout win over the Bruins Thursday night.
Wayne Gretzky may not show up at the Hall of Fame inductions this Monday.
Will the NHLPA ever learn?
With the Bruins' offense struggling, the Sabres aren’t exactly the team they need to face. Thankfully, Buffalo is starting to show some chinks in the armor, and coming off a 5-2 loss Friday night, they may be tired. On the other hand, they may be chomping at the chance to redeem themselves right away.
There is really not much else the Bruins can do except finish better and get more players in the dirty areas. That will be hard when Calder Trophy candidate and gargantuan Tyler Myers is patrolling the blue line for the Sabres, but the Bruins can utilize their size and speed as well. Boston lucks out, likely not having to face Ryan Miller, but they made a struggling Carey Price look like Patrick Roy on Thursday so that may not matter if rookie Jhonas Enroth is between the pipes.
The recipe is really simple right now for the Bruins: Score.