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Reading the papers…talking to Spicy Chicken

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
From the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy:

Patrice Bergeron, who missed Thursday’s game with a lower body injury, practiced yesterday, but Lewis said he wouldn’t be ready for tonight’s game…Mowers (flu) did not practice. Lewis expects him to play tonight…Tim Thomas will get the start tonight. Lewis plans on using Hannu Toivonen in one of the back-to-back games in Philadelphia or Toronto on Monday or Tuesday… Mark Stuart will play on this trip, possibly tonight…“I’ve got to get him into a game,” Lewis said. “I’m going to sleep on it. He looks good. He’s a strong, young guy, and he’s ready to go.

From the Buffalo News’ Tim Graham:
Buffalo Sabres winger Maxim Afinogenov is coming to grips with the likelihood his next game will be in the playoffs…Last season’s scoring leader broke his wrist a shift before scoring the tying goal in Thursday night’s 2-1 overtime triumph versus the Edmonton Oilers. He was hurt when Oilers captain Jason Smith knocked him off the boards and onto the ice…Afinogenov had surgery Friday afternoon on his left scaphoid, a small bone between the thumb and wrist. He is a left-handed shooter…the timetable for center Jiri Novotny’s return from his re-sprained left ankle is vague. Novotny rolled it in the third period Thursday night. The first time he injured his ankle he missed six games…Fourth-line forwards Adam Mair and Andrew Peters and defenseman Toni Lydman were held out of Friday’s practice for precautionary reasons. All are expected to play tonight against the Boston Bruins in HSBC Arena.

From my new mole in Buffalo. I call him "Spicy Chicken":
I was at practice Friday in Buffalo…From what I can read from your blog, they normally go with multi colored jerseys, but today was just D-men in black and white shirted forwards…I ended up meeting John Chief" Bucyk, who is a really, really cool guy…There were about 15 hockey fans in the rink…After all the B’s took the ice to practice, they all went over to Chief and lined up, and he signed for them all…The Black & Gold seemed really loose and after the normal practice, Big Z and Ference were seen skating up and down the ice, trying to take a puck from each other. The other guys were shooting around.

So here’s what we know...
  • We are probably missing Bergeron for tonight.

  • Chuck Kobasew is out indefinitely, and Timmy will be in goal.

  • The Sabres will be down Afinogenov, and possibly Novotny.

    And even if Bergy is able to play, and even with the Sabres injuries, the Bruins face a tough game this evening.

    The B’s are 1-4-1 this season vs. Buffalo (the NHL’s best team) with the Sabres winning a 6-2 decision in Boston on Oct. 21, a 5-4 shootout victory in Boston on Nov. 2, a 6-3 win in Buffalo on Jan. 17, a 7-1 victory in Buffalo on Jan. 30 and a 3-1 win in Boston on Feb. 1. The Bruins won a 3-2 shootout decision in Boston on Jan. 15.

    The Bruins had their two-game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss at NY Islanders on Feb. 15

    That followed a 4-3 shootout win vs. NY Islanders on Feb. 10 and a 3-0 victory over Edmonton on Feb. 13. The Bruins have won four of their last six games and are 6-8-0 in their last 14 games with five of their six wins in that span coming in overtime or shootout. The 3-0 victory over Edmonton was their first in regulation since a 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Jan. 6 and was their first by more than one goal since a 5-3 victory in Chicago on Dec. 29.

    The Sabres have won their last four games and six of their last seven with a 7-1 win vs. Boston on Jan. 30, a 3-1 win in Boston on Feb. 1, a 3-2 loss at New Jersey on Feb. 3, a 4-3 win in Atlanta on Feb. 6, a 3-2 win vs. Ottawa on Feb. 7, a 3-2 win vs. Calgary on Feb. 10 and a 2-1 victory over Edmonton on Feb. 15.

    Buffalo is 8-6-1 in their last 15 games and are 3-0-0 on their current six-game home stand.

    More later…
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