In a game where many fans in The Hub of Hockey expect revenge, the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres will face off for the second time in 10 days Sunday night at the First Niagara Center.
With Shawn Thornton a game-time decision, it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches things this time around – if he suits up – after sustaining a concussion from a fight with Sabres’ tough guy John Scott in the last meeting. Some want to see captain Zdeno Chara go after Scott, but Thornton quickly shot that down in an interview with CSNNE’s Mike Giardi earlier this week.
The Bruins arrived in Buffalo early this morning through the aftermath of Superstorm Nemo, which postponed Saturday’s contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Boston, coming off a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, sits in second place in the Eastern Conference – two points behind the New Jersey Devils with two games in hand – and will play its 10th game of the season Sunday.
Like the Bruins, the Sabres have won two straight, including last night’s 3-2 triumph over the New York Islanders where they were outshot 43-15. Buffalo sits in a four-way tie for eighth along with the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers.
After the jump, lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7 p.m.
Location: First Niagara Center
T.V./Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (7-1-1, 15 points), Sabres (5-6-1, 11 points)
Bruins projected lineup
Milan Lucic/Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Nathan Horton-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Jamie Tardif
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton/Lane MacDermid
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Sabres projected lineup
Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville
Marcus Foligno-Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford
Steve Ott-Mikhail Grigorenko-Jochen Hecht
John Scott-Nathan Gerbe-Patrick Kaleta
Andrej Sekera-Jordan Leopold
Christian Ehrhoff-Alexander Sulzer
Robyn Regher-Adam Weber
Bruins to watch
Brad Marchand who is still recovering from an upper-body injury, is a game-time decision. Even if he suits up, expect Tyler Seguin to stay with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The third year forward provided a spark when he was paired with the duo during the final stanza and tallied a goal and an assist in just 1:40. Expect Seguin to play with a similar jump now that he is paired with the two again for 60 minutes (presumably).
Also look to see how Nathan Horton reacts to his new linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley. It’s no secret that he is pretty comfortable skating with Lucic and Krejci, but this might only be temporary given all the injuries up front.
Daniel Paille is also a game-time. If he and Thornton suit suit up then expect Claude Julien to roll all four lines coming off a four-day rest.
Sabres to watch
Of course Bruins fans are well aware of Thomas Vanek’s ability to kill the Bruins on any given night. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher is off to a hot start leading the league with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) and recorded five points in last Thursday’s victory.
Vanek and fellow linemates Jason Pominville (6, goals, 8 assists, 14 points) and Cody Hodgson (5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points) account for more than 47 percent of the team’s offense (49 points out of 103) and 57 percent of the scoring (22 goals out of 38), so expect Chara and Johnny Boychuk to keep an eye on the talented trio throughout. Although that might be difficult given that the Sabres have the last change.
Hockey Buzz’s Ty Anderson, who did an excellent job breaking the news on the Bruins-Lightning contests, has a great take on the career of Tim Thomas in Boston.
Chris Gasper of The Boston Globe says its time for the NHL to ban fighting. While I agree with Gasper’s assessments on the great risk of causing brain damage when enforcers drop the gloves, I respectfully disagree with his stance on outlawing it altogether.
In their latest installment of “Grindin’ Gears” the folks from Days of Y’Orr assess the Bruins’ struggles on the power play, or as I like to call it, the powerless play.
Die by the Blade has their preview of the second Bruins-Sabres matchup and thinks things might not go as well this time around.
Tim Redinger of Sabre Noise provides his knee jerk reaction to Buffalo’s win over the Isles.
For the second straight game, defenseman Tyler Myers will likely be a healthy scratch and the former Calder Trophy winner is quite ’embarrassed’ according to John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Tweets of interest
Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) got to show the effects of Nemo in the North End before traveling with the team last night.
Lots of North Enders out and aboot shaking off the cabin fever. twitter.com/Ferknuckle/sta…
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) February 9, 2013
And Sabres’ Digital Content Manager Kevin Snow (@kwsnow) had this to tweet about Sulzer’s game-winner in his 100th career game Saturday.
Sulzer scores the GWG as a Moe’s Hot Player in his 100th career game. Go buy a lottery ticket my friend.
— Kevin Snow (@kwsnow) February 10, 2013