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Sabres finish off season series with Bruins

by Dave Lozo
SABRES (32-26-8) at BRUINS (38-20-10)


Last 10:
Buffalo 5-3-2; Boston 7-2-1

Season Series:
The Sabres have won three of five against the Bruins this season with one of the victories coming in overtime. The sixth and final meeting will decide who takes the season series.

Big Story: This is the sixth stop on a seven-game road trip for the Sabres, who are in a battle for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They are 3-1-1 entering Thursday's game at TD Garden. The Bruins are still chasing the Flyers for the top spot in the East. This game could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

Team Scope:

Sabres: Tuesday's 3-1 loss in Pittsburgh was Buffalo's first setback in regulation since Feb. 20 (5-0-2). Leading scorer Thomas Vanek missed the game because of the flu, but should be back against the Bruins.

The Sabres grabbed an early 1-0 lead, but the Penguins fought back and shut the door behind Marc-Andre Fleury's 29 saves.

"Every team is desperate for wins right now and we know we're going to be in a battle every game down the stretch," said Rob Niedermayer, who scored Buffalo's lone goal.

What matters in the standings is Boston's 4-0 loss to the Canadiens on Tuesday, but what everyone will remember is Zdeno Chara's scary interference penalty against Max Pacioretty.

Chara hit Pacioretty into the partition between the benches. Pacioretty lay on the ice motionless for five minutes before being stretchered off.

"I knew we were somewhere close to our bench but obviously that wasn't my intention to push him into the post," said Chara, who was given an interference major and a game misconduct with 15.8 seconds left in the period but received no supplemental discipline. "It's very unfortunate. In that situation everything's happening fast and even planning to do that, that's not my style to hurt somebody. I always play hard. I play physical but I never try to hurt anybody so I'm hoping he's OK."

During the game, it was all Habs. They scored a pair of first-period goals and never looked back.

"I can't say we are happy with our game tonight," coach Claude Julien said. "Let's face it. We gave them the first two goals."

Who's Hot:
Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera has 2 goals and 8 assists in his last 6 games. … Boston's David Krejci has 2 goals and 10 assists in his last 9 games.

Injury Report: Patrick Kaleta (knee), Jochen Hecht (upper-body) and Mike Grier (lower-body) all missed Tuesday's game against the Pens. … For Boston, Steve Kampfer (concussion) is unavailable. Defenseman Andrew Ference (lower-body) is day-to-day. 

Stat Pack:
The Sabres are 17-8-4 since Jan. 1. … The Bruins haven't scored a power-play goal in seven games (0-for-16).

Puck Drop:
"Too many of our good offensive players had to sit on the bench for too long. I thought our battle was good. Shot lanes, blocking shots, we did a great job. But we had too many players sitting idle." -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, on how his team was affected by being shorthanded seven times against the Penguins

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