Sabres renew rivalry with Bruins after playoff ouster
Wednesday, 11.03.2010 / 7:00 PM
Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff WriterBRUINS (6-2-0) at SABRES (3-7-2)
TV: NESN (HD),MSG-B (HD)
Season series --
This is the first of six meetings. It's the first matchup since the Bruins upset the third-seeded Sabres in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs last season.
Big story -- Tim Thomas
is stopping everything while Ryan Miller
isn't playing at anything close to the level he was during last season's Vezina-winning campaign. Thomas is 6-0-0 with three shutouts, a 0.50 goals-against average and .984 save percentage. Miller is just 3-5-2 with a 2.71 GAA and .903 save percentage and will likely miss this game with a lower-body injury.
Thomas was named the NHL's Second Star for October. He stopped 182 of 185 shots and has at least temporarily displaced Tuukka Rask
as the team's No. 1 goaltender.
"It's pretty special I think," coach Claude Julien said. "It's just a matter of riding it, it's as simple as that. You've got to hopefully see a goaltender keep doing that for you as long as he can."
While Thomas has lost five consecutive starts against Buffalo, he made 29 saves to post his third shutout of the season and second in a row in a 4-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday night.
"The effort in front of me was great," Thomas said. "Our 'D' is doing an incredible job blocking shots when needed, clearing rebounds when needed. They're making life easy for me right now."
While the poor start of the New Jersey Devils has drawn all of the attention, the Sabres have been nearly as bad. They are 29th in the League with 8 points in 12 games thanks to poor play and injuries.
Buffalo lost the final three games of a four-game road trip to close the month, falling 4-0 at Dallas on Saturday.
"There's not a damn thing we can do about that. That's behind us," coach Lindy Ruff said. "There's not one person that's happy about it, including myself. I find it embarrassing, and we've moved on."
Sabres captain Craig Rivet will also suit up after Ruff made the defenseman a healthy scratch for the last two contests.
Who's hot --
Boston's Milan Lucic
, David Krejci
and Nathan Horton
have 11 goals and 15 assists in eight games. ... Center Derek Roy
has been a rare bright spot for the Sabres. He leads the team with 6 goals and 7 assists and has 1 goal and 5 assists in his last 4 games.
Injury report --
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk
is out with a broken arm. ... The Sabres will get Jason Pominville
back after he missed nine games with a concussion. Miller (lower-body injury) will likely not play. Center Nathan Gerbe
had his jaw wired shut after being hit in the face with a Tyler Myers
slap shot Friday.
Stat pack --
While the Sabres are 0-4-1 at HSBC Arena, Boston is looking to stay perfect on the road. The Bruins are 3-0-0 in road games, not including splitting a pair of contests with Phoenix in Prague to open the season.
Puck drop --
"He's been good for us. He's really been good. He's at the top of his game. He feels great. It's a long season, so we've got a hot goaltender here that we're probably going to ride." -- Claude Julien on Tim Thomas