Buffalo's Tim Connolly (second on the Sabres in points) is expected to be back after recovering from what was reportedly a foot injury. He missed the last nine games, including the most recent two games against Boston. Andrew Ference, who has been dealing with a groin injury/hernia, will be returning to the lineup for Boston.
I got a chance to ask the Boston players what they think will be the keys to this series. Here's a compilation of their responses:
- Good breakouts. Make tape-to-tape passes.
- Good forecheck, especially in the neutral zone.
- Puck management. Limit turnovers.
- Spend time in offensive zone, be aggressive in setting up the cycle, make good pinches by defensemen.
- Net-front presence. Make sure there is traffic in front.
- Get "grade A" scoring opportunities against Miller.
- Recognize Buffalo's ability to engage the four-man attack. Try to prevent the fourth man from getting into the mix.
- Team defense, sticking to the defensive system.
- Play with an edge. The game could come down to who can handle physicality better.
- Score more goals than Buffalo — it sounds obvious, but several players said this earnestly). Score more than two goals.
- Discipline, special teams.