The Sabres and Bruins will close out their 2010-11 regular season series tonight in Boston as the longtime rivals face off for the sixth and final time. The season series has been made particularly memorable by the hat trick heroics of Drew Stafford
, who has netted seven goals in just three games against the B’s this season, including a pair of three-goal efforts.
Buffalo lost its first two meetings against Boston. The first came in early November, when the Bruins visited HSBC Arena and handed the Sabres their sixth consecutive home loss to start the season. The next loss was a tough one, as the Sabres gave up a lead late in the third period of a hard-fought road game at TD Garden, eventually falling in overtime on Dec. 7.
When the teams met in Buffalo just over a week later, Stafford personally put an end to the struggles. In his return from an injury, he scored all three Sabres goals in a 3-2 win for his first hat trick of the season.
In the midst of the 2011 World Junior Championship, the Sabres hosted the Bruins on New Year’s Day in a game that may be remembered as the most exciting of the 2010-11 campaign. The back-and-forth contest featured five ties and five lead changes. Stafford again was the difference, capping his second straight hat trick against the Bruins when he tied the game at 6-6 with just 28 seconds left in regulation. The goals kept coming in the shootout, as five of the six shooters scored. Ryan Miller
stopped Zdeno Chara on Boston’s third attempt to clinch the victory.
In the most recent matchup, Thomas Vanek
tallied a goal and an assist in the third period, including the game-winner (below) to lead the Sabres to a 4-2 comeback win on the road in Boston on Jan. 20 to improve Buffalo’s record against the Bruins to 3-1-1 on the year.
Since the dramatic New Year’s victory over Boston, the Sabres have gone 16-8-4, climbing from 11th in the Eastern Conference to eighth, where they currently sit entering tonight’s game.