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Slumping Sabres visit red-hot Bruins

by Davis Harper

SABRES (2-3-1) at BRUINS (5-0-1)

TV: MSG-Buffalo, NESN

Season series: This is the first of five meetings between these Northeast Division rivals. Boston won four of six against Buffalo last season, including all three at TD Bank Garden.

Big story: One of the hottest teams in the NHL will face off against one of the coldest -- the Bruins have yet to lose in regulation and are coming off three consecutive wins, while the Sabres have dropped four straight - including an agonizing 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto on Tuesday.

Team Scope:

Sabres: After starting the season 2-0-0, Buffalo suffered a home-and-home series sweep at the hands of Carolina and a 3-2 loss in Washington to the Capitals. On Tuesday, Buffalo returned to the First Niagara Center hoping to get back on track against Toronto, a team the Sabres beat 2-1 nine days ago. The Leafs struck first, however, and led 3-2 after two periods. That's when Mikhail Grigorenko, the Sabres rookie who found out early Tuesday he would be staying with Buffalo until season's end, stepped up to the plate. Grigorenko scored on a backhand from the slot, using his first NHL tally to send the game to overtime. Though Toronto won it in the extra period with a last-second goal from Matt Frattin, Buffalo captain Jason Pominville indicated that getting a point was a step in the right direction.

"We weren't able to get two points, but sometimes you have to start with one and hopefully this little stretch will make us stronger and we'll learn that we've got to play complete games," Pominville said. "You can never give up until the end."

Bruins: The Bruins took the ice at TD Bank Garden Tuesday night less than 24 hours after a hard-fought 5-3 win in Carolina and faced a stern test in New Jersey. Like Boston, New Jersey had yet to lose in regulation, and the fresher Devils led 1-0 through two periods. The Bruins battled back in the third, however, and forced overtime when Nathan Horton scored with less than five to play. After a scoreless overtime, Brad Marchand - in his first-ever shootout attempt - earned the extra two point for the Bruins.

"They're a very tough team to play against. They really don't give you a whole lot of time and space, especially our second game in two nights, they didn't give us a whole lot," Marchand said. "But we did a great job at getting the two points.

"We did a good job. We were resilient and we showed we can win in all situations, whether we're up or down or tied, it doesn't matter."

Who's hot: Horton has goals in his last two games, but the real story for Boston is Tuukka Rask. The goalie is off to a 4-0-1 start, and his save percentage (.932) and goals-against average (1.74) are both fifth in the League. … Thomas Vanek recorded an assist against Toronto, giving him seven in his past five games.

Injury report: Robyn Regehr (lower body) is listed as day-to-day after missing Tuesday's game. Forward Patrick Kaleta didn't make the trip to Boston after spending Tuesday night in a hospital with a neck injury sustained when he was boarded by Toronto's Mike Brown. Kaleta was released on Wednesday. Look for Nathan Gerbe to take his spot in the lineup. Cody McCormick (finger) and Ville Leino (strained right hip) are on injured reserve. … Boston's Adam McQuaid sat out Monday and Tuesday due to a death in his family but is likely to return Thursday. Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is on long-term IR.

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