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B's Need to Stay Sharp vs. Sabres

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- With two teams riding four-game winning streaks going into tonight's tilt in the TD Garden B's, Head Coach Claude Julien said he expected much of the same versus the Sabres, who took the season's series against Boston (who went 2-2-2 versus Buffalo) in 2011-12.

"No, I don’t think they’ve changed their game, their game is the same," said Julien. "They attack well; their D supports the attack well.

"Nothing from their structure has changed much, except for the fact they’ve got some different personnel, they signed some quality players that have come in and made an impact on that team. And that’s basically what I’ve seen from their game, and having watched them.

"And are they more dangerous? Are they better? I think they’ve improved their team -- I really do."

Julien's players also expect to see the Sabres, who stand second in the Northeast Division with 20 points, to bring their best to Boston, even after defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1 last night in Western New York.

"Obviously they’re playing well," said B's alternate captain. "This early in the season I don’t think the fatigue comes into play very often.

"We know what to expect. They’re playing well and we’re going to have to come out with our best effort tonight."

What the Bruins expect is a tough game.

"They’re playing the same way as the last few years," said B's captain Zdeno Chara. "It seems like they’re playing with a lot more confidence and a lot more speed and they’re moving the puck extremely well and fast.

"It’s going to be a big challenge for us."

Part of that challenge will come from a potent Sabres attack.

"Their top three lines are producing for them," said defenseman Steve Kampfer, who will re-enter the B's lineup tonight to take the injured Andrew Ference's spot on the blueline.

"They’re six points ahead of us right now in the standings," said Kampfer of his 4th place Bruins. "They’re a team that likes to cycle down low and use their speed — we’re going to have to be ready for that and play our game."

A strong physical presence throughout all 60 minutes of the contest is the major part of any successful gameplan for Boston and tonight is no different.

"They’re a hard working team," said B's forward Shawn Thornton, who could find a willing "dance" partner tonight in the Sabres Paul Gaustad. "I’ve played against them enough in the last four or five years.

"They play hard, they’re strong on pucks, they’re very opportunistic offensively and they’re pretty good on the walls, so we’re going to have to bring another good game.

"We want to keep climbing and they’re a team that’s ahead of us in the division, so we’re going to have to bring everything to try and climb up."
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