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Resurgent Sabres come calling on Bruins

by Dave Lozo /
SABRES (11-13-3) at BRUINS (14-8-3)

Last 10 --
Buffalo 6-4-0; Boston 5-3-2

Season series --
This is the second of six meetings. The Bruins grabbed the opener, 5-2, on Nov. 3 in Buffalo. The Sabres were without goaltender Ryan Miller for that contest, as backup Jhonas Enroth allowed five goals on 26 shots.

Big Story -- With Miller healthy, the Sabres are showing signs of life, having won three of four. Miller has two consecutive shutouts and hasn't allowed a goal in 147:51. Bruins center Marc Savard will play in his third game this season after dealing with concussion problems.

Team Scope:

Sabres -- Miller is undoubtedly the backbone of the club, which was lost while he dealt with groin and hip issues in the early going. But the Vezina Trophy winner is 6-2-0 in his last eight games and perfect over the last two.

"I'm feeling better," Miller said told the Buffalo News, "but I think it's a case where the communication has been better with the 'D.'"

"He's arguably the best goalie in the world," defenseman Jordan Leopold said. "When he's on his 'A' game, he's tough to beat."

Bruins -- Tim Thomas is having such a dominant season that even after losses, the opposing team is raving about his play.

Thomas made a save for the ages against Leafs defenseman Francois Beauchemin in overtime Saturday, but the Bruins lost 3-2 in a shootout. Still, the praise for Thomas was high from the Leafs.

"If not for Timmy Thomas there's certainly no way the game goes even to overtime or to a shootout, because he made some unbelievable saves," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "He was huge."

Thomas enters Tuesday's game leading the League in goals-against average (1.46), save percentage (.956) and shutouts (5).

Who's Hot --
Bruins center David Krejci had 2 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games. … Sabres winger Thomas Vanek has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games.

Injury Report --
Bruins left wing Marco Sturm (knee) is skating with the team but hasn't been activated off injured reserve. … Sabres winger Drew Stafford (shoulder) couldn't make it through an entire practice Monday. Center Tim Connolly (groin) isn't expected back this week. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (head) is expected to play.

Stat Pack --
Shawn Thornton's 5 goals in 25 games are one short of his career high when he had 6 in 79 games two seasons ago. … The Sabres have five goals in their last 12 power-play chances. Still, they are ranked 21st (15.2 percent) with the man-advantage this season.

Puck Drop -- "We didn't give up a lot of Grade A opportunities. We did a disciplined job staying away from penalties. We stayed away from the majority of the odd-numbered situations. We finally did a decent job on [Senators captain Daniel] Alfredsson, which has been our nemesis. There's a lot of good things in the last two games that you can pull out of." -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff

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