BOSTON – Good afternoon and Happy Patriots Day to all the readers in Massachusetts! Tonight the
Bruins resume their series with the Buffalo Sabres in Game 3 of their Eastern
Conference Quarterfinal series.
After a split in Buffalo in the first two games of the
series, the Bruins bring a lot of momentum after their come from behind victory
in Game 2, in which Buffalo lost for the first time this year when holding a
lead after two periods. Before their loss on Saturday in Game 2 the Sabres were
31-0 when holding a lead going into the second intermission.
“I think as individuals – sometimes effort-wise – it’s been
pretty good,” head coach Claude Julien said after getting great efforts from
Michael Ryder, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask in Game 2. “You’re always looking
for a little bit more from certain players, but I think overall we’ve been
pretty good. That’s why it’s a team game.”
In his first two playoff games, Rask has been solid and gave
the Black and Gold a chance to win both games. His save on Mike Grier in Game 2
proved to be one of the clutch moments in the game.
Julien was quite optimistic of his goaltenders performance
in Buffalo in his first playoff experience.
“Well, we’re 1-1 and I think he’s played well,” he said.
“He’s playing against arguably the best goaltender in the league right now
[Ryan Miller], so the fact that he’s been there and done the job and continue
to play well for us, I think he’s been fine.”
As the series resumes tonight the Sabres will be without
“Bruins Killer” Thomas Vanek, who suffered an ankle injury (originally
described as a “lower-body” injury) during Game 2, and is still walking in a protective boot.
“It’s the same as yesterday,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff
said about Vanek’s progress. “He hasan’t taken a step back, but he still hasn’t
shown progress either.”
While Vanek is still walking in a boot will be out of the
lineup, fellow forward Drew Stafford will return to the lineup tonight. In 71
games played this year, Stafford had 14 goals and 20 assists for the blue and
gold. In 10 career playoff games with the Sabres, Stafford has two goals and
“We were racking him up to play Saturday, but the test
results didn’t go our way,” Ruff said. “The conditioning we put him through and
some of the contact and battle drills gave him a little bit of a head start.”
Bruins forward Marc Savard spoke to the media for the first
time in the postseason.
Ever since Savard suffered a Grade 2 concussion on a
headshot from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke back in March, the Bruins playmaker has suffered
from migrane headaches and in some instances he had to be contained in a dark
The past couple days have been looking up for Savvy however,
as he seemed pretty optimistic and upbeat from and even better, his headaches
have been going away.
“It’s been awhile…at least last Friday,” said the optimistic
Perhaps we might see Savard don the #91 again this
postseason. He hasn’t ruled that out and has set a goal to come back sometime
during the playoffs.
“Yeah, that’s the goal here,” said Savard. “I want to get
back playing here as soon as possible, but there’s a lot of things you got to
be sure about before that time comes.
“I think the biggest thing is being in as good of shape I
can get into right now, because when you’re out of shape your mental side goes
down too and you put yourself in some tough situations, so I just got to make
sure I’m in good enough shape when I’m ready.”
Miller Named Vezina
This comes as no surprise, but Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is
a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the leagues top goaltender – along with New
Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Phoenix’s Ilya Bryzgalov. The U.S. Olympian who
captured the eyes of the hockey world with his brilliant performance in this
year’s Olympics and has been quite the goaltender all year long – posting 41
wins and a 2.22 goals against average in 69 games played this season.
“I’m very honored,” said the Sabres goaltender. “It’s been a
hard fought season with my teammates. If you’re going to be considered a top
goaltender you got to have guys around you who work hard and make plays around
you a bit easier, and I think that’s been one of our most improved areas this