Event: Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 7 p.m. EDT.
Location: First Niagara Center (Capacity: 18,690), Buffalo, NY.
Broadcast Info: Wednesday's game between the Bruins and Sabres will be broadcast live on NESN. The game can also be heard on the 98.5 the Sports Hub Radio Network, with Dave Goucher providing play-by-play, and Bob Beers providing analysis.
Last Time Out: Two of the last three games the Bruins have been in, there has been no blow out associated with it. A 2-1 shootout victory against Columbus and the most recent one on Monday, a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens--a significant difference from their seemingly usual six-goal blowouts. However, even though the first line has been dormant the past couple of games, and the streaking Tyler Seguin hasn’t netted a goal in four games, Claude Julien said what’s important is that his team is still finding ways to win games. The defense has been a huge part of it, scoring big goals in both of the close games. Andrew Ference scored the lone goal in Monday’s 1-0 game.
Meanwhile, the Sabres have had to do without Ryan Miller who suffered a concussion after the last time these two teams met and Milan Lucic collided with him. The Sabres last game, however, they played on Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes where they fell 4-2, and lost defenseman Tyler Myers in the second period. Myers left the game with a broken wrist and will be out four to six weeks. Luke Adam and Patrick Kaleta each scored a goal that game, but it wasn’t enough to earn the two points.
Storyline: Ryan Miller said it plainly on November 15 when talking to the media about Milan Lucic. "Lucic's a tough guy. What are you going to do, try to hack him, spear him, cheap-shot him? Then you're no better than he is," Miller said. "I try to have their backs. I trust they have mine, so that's the end of that one."
The Bruins have also made it clear that they are just looking for the win tonight which would boost them up to first place in the Division. Lucic did note that it would be a "hard-fought game" but that was all he said about it. Meanwhile, Sabres forward Paul Gaustad claimed he was "embarrassed" about the lack of reaction from the rest of the team. That being said, it doesn’t say in black and white that there will be some frustration on the ice tonight, but everything points to something happening.
However, Miller won’t be in net tonight, and Jhonas Enroth will be taking his place. He ranks 9th in the league with a .931 save percentage and 10th in GAA with 2.06. The Bruins were able to score three times against him in the last game after Miller left the game before the start of the third period.
Players To Watch: Thomas Vanek seems to have the Bruins number, and scored the first goal last game for the Sabres. Vanek has now scored the first goal in five games this season which is good enough for the league best. He also has seven points (4-3=7) in the past four games against the Bruins.
Milan Lucic will also be a player to keep an eye on. Obviously it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, the Sabres decide to send up against him. But don’t expect him to slow down any or be timid if someone is willing to step up.
Prediction: I would be surprised if Buffalo tried to start anything with the Bruins. Teams have found when it comes to the aggressive, bruise-inducing game play, the B’s have a way of harnessing the energy and using it to dominate games. However, Buffalo might have to try anything to try and derail the Bruins at this point. Final Score: Bruins 3, Sabres 2.