Tonight the Buffalo Sabres take on the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. Buffalo comes into the game on a two game winning streak while the Bruins enter the contest on a two game skid. That being said, Boston sits six positions above Buffalo. The match up will be the first professional sports game played in Boston since the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
As much as the bombing on the 15th is unrelated to tonight’s hockey game, the tragic events will certainly impact the game. The last Bruins home game had been postponed to a later date and this is the first sporting event for the city since the attack. Both the fans and the team will be carrying heavy hearts and the game will be emotionally charged.
With all this going on it is easy to forget about how crucial this game is for Buffalo who sit four points back of the 8th spot with just five games remaining. While the chances of a playoff berth are slim, the Sabres have not been mathematically eliminated. Even if they were to win out, Buffalo would still need help from other teams; namely, the Jets and Rangers. Other teams aside, every remaining game is a must win for the Sabres and tonight is no exception.
Buffalo has won their last two games, both of which have been on home ice. Jhonas Enroth started both games and earned a 1-0 shutout versus the Flyers and then a 3-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sabres look to make this their second three game winning streak in the past eight games.
Buffalo’s team defense has seen a marked improvement, allowing only one goal in the last 120 minutes of hockey played. These are stingy numbers by any measure; however Buffalo faces a tough opponent in Boston. Games against the Bruins are always tough and physical and tonight’s tilt should be no different, especially considering how emotionally fired up the Bruins will be.
Probably one of the few highlights of the Sabres season is their ability to hang in physical games and keep up the intensity. The additions of John Scott and Steve Ott have helped, as well as agitators such as Patrick Kaleta. The major difference this year is that most of the team is now finishing their checks in physical games; the hitting is not relegated to certain players anymore.
The Sabres will need to come into Boston with a lot of intensity to face a team that feels it has a lot to play for due to the tragic state of the city.
The game is slated for 7:30 PM and will be aired on NBCSN.