After a couple of days off for the Buffalo Sabres, its back to business with tonight’s opponent being the Boston Bruins. So far the teams have split the season series right down the middle, also both have won two games and scored an average of three goals a each over those four contests.
For the Buffalo Sabres they will be looking for a third straight win to increase their scant playoff hopes. Buffalo has won three games in a row on multiple occasions this year, but has not been able get that elusive fourth game. They are winners of five of their last seven, as they try to break their way into the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference.
Buffalo comes into the contest on the heals of a two game winning streak orchestrated by Jhonas Enroth, who started in net in back to back situations while allowing only 1 goal against both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tonight’s opponent however, will be a little tougher. Boston is reeling right now after lost their last two games. They now trail Montreal for the top spot in the Northeast Division by one point.
If the Buffalo Sabres are looking for a positive about playing the Boston Bruins, the last team to face the Bruins was the Carolina Hurricanes, who used the Bruins to snap a seven game skid. Buffalo will have the services of Mikhail Grigorenko on hand after being recalled from the Quebec Ramparts who were bumped out of the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. It is doubtful that Grigs will see the ice tonight, but will crack the lineup in one of the remaining four Buffalo Sabres games after tonight.
Three of the four games against Boston have been played in Buffalo this year, with the only game so far in Boston resulting in a Thomas Vanek five point night, and a 7-4 Buffalo victory. I would anticipate that Ryan Miller will be back in the net tonight, after having plenty of rest since his last start, a 5-1 beating by the Montreal Canadiens almost a week ago. The Buffalo Sabres could find themselves sitting in a playoff spot this after this weekend, although it would take some work to keep it. The New York Rangers do not play tonight, and with a loss last night it kept them just four points ahead of the Sabres. New York still has one game in hand and will be the Buffalo Sabres opponent come Friday night. A win tonight against the Bruins, as well as Friday night against the Rangers, and Buffalo could be looking at a three game race for their playoff lives.
Fan appreciation night falls on April 26th. It could be a very lively affair, as it’s the final game of the season, and could have huge playoff implications for the Buffalo Sabres.