GAME: Boston Bruins (19-11-10-4) at Buffalo Sabres (18-21-5-1).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.
All it took was a turn of the calendar for the Boston Bruins to heat up.
Boston tries to extend a season-high six-game unbeaten streak when it faces
the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in four days.
After winning just three of 15 games in December (3-7-5) for 11 points, the
Bruins have already matched that total with a 5-0-1 record in January with nine
games still remaining this month. The six-game streak is Boston's longest since
an eight-game run from Oct. 14-30, 2002.
On Monday, in the first of six meetings against the Sabres this season,
rookie Patrice Bergeron scored twice to help the Bruins rally for their fourth
straight win, 4-3.
Captain Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov each had a goal and an assist for
Boston, which held Buffalo scoreless on four power-play opportunities. The
Bruins have killed of 59 of their last 61 short-handed situations.
These teams meet again at the FleetCenter on Jan. 22.
"As a coach, you challenge your players to win every series," Boston coach
Mike Sullivan said. "To win the first game of the season-long series is a good
sign for our team. Obviously, in three days, we've got to go to their building,
and that game is going to be a lot more difficult."
Thornton and Bergeron have been two of the biggest contributors during
Thornton has three goals and four assists during the six-game streak while
Bergeron has five goals in that span.
"We rely on Joe a lot, and in a lot of situations," Sullivan said. "If
we're going to be successful, Joe is going to have to be on the score sheet on
most nights. I think he's starting to shoot the puck more, he's getting into
scoring areas more."
Buffalo rebounded from Monday's loss by scoring five unanswered goals in a
6-2 victory over struggling Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Curtis Brown scored twice and Chris Drury added a goal and an assist for the
Sabres, who have earned points in nine of 12 games following a seven-game
"We were a disgruntled bunch," Brown said. "I didn't get much sleep
preparing for (Philadelphia). It was a tough one to swallow, but it's huge to
be able to come back the next night and get things done."
Mika Noronen stopped 35 of 37 shots in his first appearance since a groin
injury on Dec. 29 landed him on injured reserve. Noronen has allowed two goals
or fewer in six consecutive starts.