Bruins Game 42 Preview: Buffalo Sabres

Image result for bruins sabres(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Bruins enter tonight’s tilt against division rival Buffalo on a nice little 2019 winning streak, starting of course with their Winter Classic victory over the beleaguered Blackhawks on New Year’s Day and recently a grind-it-out “W” over a fittingly on-fire Flames team.

The Sabres have also been playing well as of late and are currently tied with the B’s in points (50) after the official midway mark of the season. Since the Bruins have more ROW, they currently occupy the No. 3 seed — an all-important playoff seed — in the Atlantic Division. So, you can rightfully assume this match-up has a lot riding on it for both the Black N’ Gold and Gold N’ Blue.

Who’s Hot:

For the Bruins, their top line of top players has truly been “the tops” as Mel Torme used to sing. And lots of people have been singing their praises since the B’s last beat Buffalo to cap off the final game of 2018 in style… with a thrilling 3-2 OT win. But outside of the multiple-point games from Bergy, March & Pasta since then, another B’s player making the most of his minutes has been Sean Kuraly, as evidenced by his consecutive GWG goals during this recent streak of solid winning play:

For the Sabres, look no further than left-winger Jeff Skinner, currently second to the now-injured Jack Eichel with 41 points in 41 games while also leading the team with 28 goals, two of which came during his previous game against Florida.

Who’s Not:

To say David Backes has been cold as ice would be unfair since he’s missed the last three games due to a suspension. But it’s because of that suspension that he’s made this list, putting the B’s second & third line pairings (heck, even the 4th line) into a bit of a flux. However, the team has won all three games since he’s been out of the line-up so will his return against the Sabres scuttle the B’s momentum? We’ll have to wait and see (at least linemate Jake Debrusk is excited to have him back).

In Buffalo, the team’s role players (the Sobotka’s, Sheary’s & Pominville’s) really need to pick up the pace against big conference & divisional teams like the Bruins. The Sabres secondary scoring — much like the B’s — has been inconsistent at best, resulting in Buffalo losing a pair of tight contests to the Rangers & B’s recently. These are 4-point games when you’re fighting for your playoff positioning so expect these Sabres to come out strong and with purpose.

How will the final match-up of the season between the B’s and Sabres play out, with the Bruins currently owning a 2-1 record? I’m predicting another down-to-the-wire finish with timely saves (Rask vs. Ullmark in net), some skillful PP goals and perhaps even another clutch OT performance. As mentioned above, with “4 points” on the line, 3rd place in the Atlantic on the line, and a playoff seed on the line, there’s a lot to play for at TG Garden tonight!

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