Fresh off last night’s last-minute victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Buffalo Sabres square off against the Boston Bruins on Rivlary Night on NBC Sports Network! Just what I need in my life: MORE MIKE MILBURY!
Tonight’s Opponent: The Boston Bruins
Record: 37-16-4, 78 pts.
Standings: Second in Easstern Conference
Current Streak: Won one
Boston is once again poised to make a deep playoff run. What I am about to say nearly caused me to vomit all over my desk at work, but here it is: Sabres fans, Boston is the sort of team we all should hope and pray the Buffalo Sabres become with GM Tim Murray steering the ship.
Ahhh – I feel so dirty!
But think about it: the Bruins have been getting spectacular play between the pipes from Tuukka Rask, whose hot play in the Sochi games could spell trouble for NHL teams from now until June. Right about now, Rask is one of two goalies who can claim that the Vezina Trophy is his to lose, and his numbers (25 wins, 2.11 GAA, .928 save percentage) tell anyone who disagrees with me where to go. If anyone can appreciate how important a red-hot goaltender can be to his team, it would be Buffalo Sabres fans.
Boston’s playoff success doesn’t simply hinge on Rask’s ability to play lights-out, though. As a team, Boston only gives up 2.14 goals per game, second-best in the NHL and ore than good enough to secure a ton of wins for a team that also puts up just over 3 per night. On the season, Boston has outscored their opponents by 51 goals, second only to the St. Louis Blues. Milan Lucic‘s cheap-shot on Ryan Miller aside, the Bruins’ forwards are tough, win battles on the boards, and make life tough for the opposition – again, the sort of players Buffalo would love to have playing for Ted Nolan. This team is built to win championships, dammit!
So, tonight’s match-up is the very definition of a HUGE mismatch. The good news for Buffalo is that Rask is out for tonight, but other than that, there’s not much good news to share. Unless the Bruins play sloppy, lazy hockey, the Sabres are going to have to rely on their own netminder to keep them in a game they have no business being in. Dammit!