BOSTON — Good afternoon from the TD Garden where tonight the Bruins will look to win their third in a row when they take on the Buffalo Sabres in another tough Northeast Division matchup. The Bruins are coming off a home and home sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, while the Sabres come in after a huge overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night.
“They’re a great team,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who scored the game winning goal in Tuesday’s contest with the ‘Canes in his second game back since missing the previous three. “They have a really great goalie [Ryan Miller] and they keep them in it mostly every game. We’ve already played them four times, and we’re 2-2 against them. They’ve always been a tough team for us to play and its because they’re a team that always has a great work ethic and we have to be prepared for that tonight.”
The Sabres won the last meeting up in Buffalo on New Years Day in a wild game that saw four Bruins’ defensemen — Andrew Ference, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and Steven Kampfer — record a goal. That ultimately started a trend as the B’s defensemen have become more involved in the offense, and as a result the team has benefited greatly as they have scored 29 goals in their last six games.
Having defensemen become more involved offensively is something that Claude Julien has been preaching to his core during the course of the season.
“It’s something you start doing at the beginning of the year, and you encourage guys to do that,” the Bruins coach said. “Eventually the more comfortable and more used to it you get with that, the better results you’re going to get.”
Speaking of defensemen, Andrew Ference will dress for the Bruins tonight, while Adam McQuaid, who has been banged up over the past few games, is listed as a healthy scratch.
With Ference returning to the lineup tonight, the Black and Gold will have a difficult decision on who gets sent down to Providence. McQuaid has been a solid stay at home defenseman in his stint with the big club this year, but Kampfer has also continued to impress the team with his puck moving ability.
“If they keep playing the way they are, it’s going to be difficult. There’s no doubt,” said Julien. “It’s certainly not going to be an easy decision to make, and if they’re all playing well…I’ve seen situations where you alternate and make sure they’re all playing.
“I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s not something you look forward to, but it’s something that you have to deal with at times. Right now I think our back end’s have been pretty good for us, and they all deserve to play.”
Tuukka Rask left the ice first indicating that he should get the start between the pipes tonight over Tim Thomas.