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Bruins seek split of home-and-home vs. Sabres

by Mike Battaglino

SABRES (9-23-3) at BRUINS (23-10-2)


Last 10: Buffalo 4-4-2; Boston 7-3-0

Season series: The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Thursday after trailing 2-1 late in the second period. Boston won the first game, also at Buffalo, 5-2 on Oct. 23, with two third-period goals from defenseman Torey Krug.

Big story: Buffalo has won two in a row in regulation for the first time this season; it has not won three in a row in any manner. Of the Sabres' nine wins, three are against the Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks (sixth, fourth and seventh in the NHL standings prior to Saturday).

"I expect [Boston] to probably be a little upset about the loss," Sabres defenseman Mike Weber told the team website. "I think we've always played them hard and it's always been a hard-fought game. I'm not too worried about anything. It's always better when you're into the game when people are hitting you and you're hitting them back, and you're into the battles in front of the net."

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo acquired forward Linus Omark in a trade Thursday and will put him to work Saturday.

"He'll take a spot in the lineup," interim coach Ted Nolan said Friday, according to the Buffalo News. "I'm not 100 percent sure exactly where we'll put him yet but he'll play tomorrow night."

The Sabres are short a forward after Cody Hodgson sustained a wrist injury blocking a shot by Krug in the first period Thursday. Nolan said Hodgson would be out "maybe a week or two or three. I'm not sure."

Omark, 26, played one game this season for the Edmonton Oilers, who received a conditional sixth-round draft pick in return. He was fourth in the American Hockey League with 29 points in 29 games for Oklahoma City.

Bruins: After having defensemen Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky each make his NHL debut in the past month, veteran Adam McQuaid is on the verge of returning to play his 209th game.

"He's getting pretty close," coach Claude Julien told the Boston Herald after practice Friday. "Honestly it's a matter of game-to-game right now. I don't know yet [about the game Saturday], but I wouldn't write him off."

McQuaid hasn't played this month because of a lower-body injury reported to be a groin pull, missing eight games (5-3-0). The Bruins could wait until after the three-day Christmas break to give him a little more recovery time.

"I hope that's not the case," McQuaid told the Herald. "I want to be back playing as soon as I can. I definitely don't want to be going through that cycle of coming back a little bit too soon [and getting hurt again]. But when I'm ready, I'll be ready. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later."

Who's hot: The Sabres have killed 14 penalties in a row; they haven't allowed a power-play goal since Dec. 5. Forward Brian Flynn has three of his season's six points in the past two games. Forward Drew Stafford has three points in four games, including his first goal since Nov. 5. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has five points in the past six. … Bruins forward Brad Marchand had two goals Thursday, and defenseman Zdeno Chara had two on Tuesday. Forward David Krejci has 11 points in his past 10 games.

Injury report: Sabres forward Cody McCormick (upper body) is out. … Bruins forward Daniel Paille (concussion) is skating. Forwards Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Chris Kelly (leg), and defenseman Dougie Hamilton (lower body) are out.

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