April 17, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) passes the puck in front of the goal while Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk (53) defends during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Pregame Skate #11: Boston Bruins

Its Wednesday Night Rivalry Night for the National Hockey League, and tonight NBC Sports Network is featuring a matchup of the Boston

Bruins and Buffalo Sabres.  Despite last seasons subpar record for the Buffalo Sabres – the Boston Bruins were one team the Sabres could consistently score against and beat.

Buffalo won the season series last year 3-2, and despite the teams vastly different starts – are hoping they can spark the same success against the Bruins.

Boston comes into tonight’s contest winners of three of their last four games – will they be looking ahead to San Jose – or are they focused enough on the Buffalo Sabres.

Ryan Miller will get the start tonight – and Cody McCormick has been placed on IR to get the team to the 23 man roster limit.  Buffalo has already lost 48 man games due to injury, and are close to getting Ville Leino and Joel Armia back – with Corey Tropp soon to follow.

While the team has plenty of injuries at this time – once healthy some tough lineup decisions will have to be made, and the team may be forced to waive several guys to Rochester.

Buffalo has faced the Boston Bruins more times than any other team in the league, and holds an advantage in the all time wins and loss categories 117-111-40.

Because the Buffalo Sabres are being featured on the NHLs Rivalry Night on NBC Sports – the game is an 8PM start – an hour later than usual.

Despite being featured on the Wednesday Rivalry Night feature, Billy Bryson asks a tough question – is the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins still a rivalry in the NHL with the Sabres being relegated to an irrelevant hockey team as of late?  I disagree with Billy here – the fact that the Sabres took three wins from the Bruins out of five contests this year makes the Sabres very relevant when these two teams play.  I don’t think you can discount a long standing rivalry just because the Sabres are currently a bad hockey team.

Certainly the Buffalo Sabres did not discount the rivalry in the two years post lockout when they were good and the Bruins sat in last place in the division and failed to make the playoffs.  Good or bad teams don’t make rivalries – and Boston will continue to be a sports city that I hate almost as much as Philadelphia – so the rivalry must be kept alive, even if it is a vain attempt by the league to keep a team relevant.

With McCormick sidelined with injury, and Pat Kaleta out of the lineup with his suspension appeal still pending on the desk of Gary Bettman – it is going to take John Scott and Marcus Foligno to take on, well just about any Bruin who wants to dance – as the Bruins play a very fierce brand of hockey.

If I were Gary Bettman, even if I did grant Patrick Kaleta a time served pardon and return him to the lineup – I would do so after his misses this game.

The key for the Buffalo Sabres – who will most likely be facing Boston Bruins backup goalie Chad Johnson – is to shoot the puck every chance they get, and to prevent the Boston Bruins from getting a healthy number of shots on Ryan Miller.

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