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Bruins look to wrap up Presidents' Trophy vs. Sabres

by Brian Hunter

SABRES (21-50-9) at BRUINS (53-18-9)


Last 10: Buffalo 1-8-1; Boston 5-4-1

Season series: This is the fifth and final game between the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins. In spite of the 64-point gap in the standings between the Atlantic Division rivals, they've split the first four. Matt D'Agostini's overtime goal gave the Sabres a 5-4 win in Buffalo in the most recent matchup on Feb. 26.

Big story: The Bruins can wrap up the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win Saturday. They've already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Sabres: The aforementioned win against Boston was part of a three-game winning streak for Buffalo out of the Olympic break. Since then, the Sabres are 3-16-1 and enter Saturday on a five-game losing streak. All five losses were to teams heading to the playoffs. The Sabres finish out the season Sunday at home against the New York Islanders.

With injuries having decimated their young goaltending corps, Matt Hackett has started three of the past four games. He's posted a .918 save percentage over that span but has nothing to show for it, the latest loss 2-1 at the hands of the New York Rangers on Thursday.

"It's really frustrating," Hackett said in the Buffalo News. "I want to get one for the boys, and I can't find a way right now."

Bruins: Although coach Claude Julien has taken the luxury of resting some of Boston's key players down the stretch -- center Patrice Bergeron missed his first game of the season Thursday -- he still expects maximum effort from those in the lineup. And he wasn't pleased with what he saw in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

"Every once in a while your players will disappoint you, and this is one of them," Julien said in the Boston Globe. "… Hopefully, it's just a bit of a phase here that we are going through and we can pick up our game. Because, as I keep telling those guys, bad habits creep in quickly and they're hard to break."

The Bruins finish the regular season Sunday afternoon at the New Jersey Devils before heading home to start the playoffs against the second wild-card team in the East. Based off how Julien has used his goaltenders down the stretch it seems likely Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson will each get a start this weekend.

Who's hot: Sabres forward Drew Stafford has one goal and two assists in his past two games. … Bruins forward David Krejci has one goal and three assists during a three-game point streak.

Injury report: Buffalo is without goaltenders Jhonas Enroth (lower body), Michal Neuvirth (lower body) and Nathan Lieuwen (concussion), defensemen Alexander Sulzer (upper body), Chad Ruhwedel (concussion) and Tyler Myers (upper body) and forward Zenon Konopka (back spasms). … Boston forward Chris Kelly (undisclosed) missed the game Thursday. Defenseman Adam McQuaid (strained quad) is on injured reserve.

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