NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 8th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (44-25-10) at Boston Bruins (36-30-13), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Recently crowned as champions of the Northeast Division, the Buffalo Sabres will visit the playoff-hopeful Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden.
The Sabres clinched their first division title since 2006-07 with Tuesday's decisive victory over the visiting New York Rangers. Buffalo still has playoff seeding to think about, however, as it enters tonight one point behind New Jersey for the second seed in the East. The Devils, who, like Buffalo, have three games left in the regular season, play tonight in Florida.
Meanwhile, Boston is currently holding onto the eighth and final postseason berth in the East. The Bruins are one point ahead of the Rangers, and with three games left, Boston has a game in hand to use over New York tonight.
Boston has won three of five meetings with the Sabres this year, but Buffalo has taken five of eight overall. Buffalo notched a 3-2 regulation win in Beantown on March 29, giving the Sabres just their second win in five trips to Boston.
The Sabres rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday to clinch their first Northeast Division title in three years. Tyler Ennis picked up a goal and two assists to lead the way for Buffalo.
Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Jochen Hecht and Toni Lydman also scored for Buffalo, which played in its home finale on Tuesday and will close out the regular season on a three-game road trip. The Sabres are 19-15-4 as the guest this year.
Ryan Miller made 30 saves to record his 40th win of the season, matching his career high achieved in 2006-07.
"(The division title) was something we were hoping to accomplish when we started the season. It's one stop along the way," Miller said.
Miller was scheduled to get a rest tonight from Patrick Lalime, but with the backup battling the flu it appears as though Miller will get the call again.
Buffalo forwards Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly both missed Tuesday's game with lower-body injuries and are questionable for tonight as well. Vanek has sat out the last four games and Connolly has missed the last five, but Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff expects both players to return before the end of the regular season.
Connolly is Buffalo's leading scorer with 65 points on the year, while Vanek has 23 goals.
Sabres defenseman Craig Rivet also missed Tuesday's game with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight.
The Bruins, meanwhile, will be without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for eight weeks after he underwent surgery on Tuesday to have a lacerated tendon repaired in his left forearm. He suffered the injury Saturday against Toronto when his arm was cut by a skate blade.
In 79 games this season for the Panthers and Bruins, Seidenberg has registered four goals and 28 assists for 32 points and leads the NHL with 215 blocked shots.
The Bruins lost for the second time in three games Monday night, dropping an overtime decision in Washington after Brooks Laich scored just 44 seconds into the extra session. Dennis Wideman was called for high sticking 24 seconds into the extra frame and Laich put the puck into the net from in front off of an Alexander Semin rebound 20 seconds later for the win.
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist while Wideman scored the other goal for the Bruins, who are 2-1-1 in their last five games. Tuukka Rask made 27 saves in the loss.
"The effort was there because we had some quality chances," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "We just didn't bury them and it gets a little frustrating. But we played a good game tonight against a great hockey team, and were able to get a point."
The Bruins are just 16-17-6 as the host this year and are playing their second-to-last home game of the regular season. Boston will welcome Carolina on Saturday before capping its schedule Sunday in Washington.
04/08 11:24:56 ET