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Bruins continue trip with a stop in Buffalo

by Sergei J. Feldman

BRUINS (20-11-5) at SABRES (15-18-4)


Last 10 -- Boston 5-3-2; Buffalo 4-5-1

Season series -- It's the fourth of six meetings between the two Northeast Division rivals. The Bruins won 5-2 at Buffalo on Nov. 3 and 3-2 in overtime at home on Dec. 7. The Sabres won the last meeting, 3-2 at HSBC Arena on Dec. 15.

Big story -- In the first game of the new year for both teams, the Bruins have the chance to continue a recent hot streak, while the Sabres make a pit stop at home on the off-day of the World Junior Championship. 

Team Scope:

Bruins -- The B’s have gone 4-1-1 in their last six games, including road wins against the Washington Capitals, Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning. They come to Buffalo for the fourth game of a five-game trip after sweeping two games in Florida and losing 3-2 in a shootout at Atlanta on Thursday. The surge has propelled the Bruins to the top of the Northeast Division, one point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens, who have played three more games.

Sabres -- The Sabres have been plagued inconsistency. Last year’s division champs won consecutive games just once in the month of December and start the new year in 12th place in the East with just 34 points, 10 behind eighth-place Montreal. They make a stop at home after two games in Alberta, then head out West for games next week at Colorado, San Jose and Phoenix.

Who’s hot -- The Bruins have relied on goalie Tim Thomas, who is 3-0-1 in his last four games and has allowed just eight goals on 127 shots in that span.

Injury report -- Forward Gregory Campbell is questionable for Boston after missing Thursday's game due to illness. … Buffalo will be without No. 1 center Derek Roy (torn quad) for the rest of the season, and Patrick Kaleta is out with an upper body injury. Center Tim Connolly, who had surgery to repair a badly broken nose, may be able to return.

Stat pack -- Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is coming off a 4-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers, a game in which he collected his 200th NHL victory, all with Buffalo. He trails only Dominik Hasek among all goaltenders in franchise history.

“It’s pretty cool to be around long enough to get 200 wins,” he said after the game. “You never expect to be around that long. I am just happy to be playing and making a career out of it. It’s exciting to reach milestones now.”

Puck drop -- If you can be pleased after a loss, the Bruins were just that after dominating the Thrashers before losing in a shootout.

"I think we put forth the effort and if we do that the rest of the road trip we're gonna get some more wins," center Marc Savard told the Bruins' website after Friday's practice. "We were happy with our effort, obviously not happy with the final result, but (if) the guys keep working like we did today in practice, you know we should find them all."

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