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Familiarity could breed contempt for Sabres, Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- It was only five days ago the Buffalo Sabres were celebrating a shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils at First Niagara Center.

It was an emotional contest, featuring a fight just 27 seconds into the game between Buffalo's Steve Ott and New Jersey's David Clarkson, several roughing minors, and an emotional sequence at the conclusion of overtime and the shootout involving Devils center Adam Henrique.

Just as the horn sounded to end OT, Tyler Ennis received a roughing minor following a brief scrap with Henrique, who had taken exception to Ennis shooting the puck toward him in the New Jersey end of the ice.

It wasn't too long after that when Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller appeared to get under Henrique's skin.


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After making a glove save on Henrique's shootout attempt that clinched the 4-3 victory for the Sabres, the All-Star goalie stretched out his glove arm and swatted the puck with a baseball-style swing while shouting toward Henrique. Henrique had a few choice words for the Sabres goalie before heading back to his dressing room.

Henrique was asked if there will be any lingering memories heading into Thursday's game against the Sabres at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG-B, MSG-Plus).

"I guess the fact it was only five days ago, it's still there [in my mind], but I don't know what happened in the end with Miller and I really don't care," Henrique told "Bad blood or whatever it is, and what everyone is talking about and making a big deal about, I don't care. It happened in the last game and things aren't going our way right now, so we need to focus on two points and getting the win."

Buffalo coach Ron Rolston wouldn't be surprised if the game is a physical affair.

"It could be … they want to win just as bad as we do," he said. "It's going to be competitive and usually when two teams compete like that, you get that animosity."

Ott was asked if there's a good chance he and Clarkson would mix it up once again.

"I know he's not shying away from anybody and neither do I, so if it happens, it happens," he told "I really like [Clarkson's] game. He plays really hard, and goes to the hard areas to score. He's competitive and hungry and, as a teammate or guy on your team, you die for players like that. I have the utmost respect for the guy."

Clarkson said he's up for anything.

"I'm up for whatever happens, but at the end of the day, we've got something bigger than that right now," Clarkson said. "We're trying to get back to playing that style of hockey that brought us success earlier in the season."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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