Main storyline: The Buffalo Sabres (2-8-0) had a rough four-game road trip by going 1-3, with their most recent loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Thursday, the Sabres will look for their first win at home in a matchup with another division rival in the Boston Bruins (5-6-0) at the First Niagara Center.
Season series: Thursday’s game will be the second of four games between the two teams. The first matchup took place on October 18 with the Bruins shutting out the Sabres 4-0 in Buffalo. The Bruins had goals from three different defenseman to begin the game, and Niklas Svedberg recorded a 32-save shutout.
Where they stand: The Sabres sit in the basement of the Atlantic Division with four points, while they sit in second last in the National Hockey League only behind the Carolina Hurricanes, who are in search of their first win after eight games. The Bruins are currently fifth in the Atlantic Division sitting with 10 points after eleven games played.
Recent performance: The Sabres were embarrassed on Tuesday night by Toronto, only putting up 10 shots on goal. The 10 shots on goal sets a new franchise record for the fewest shots in a game. Michael Neuvirth stood on his head for the first two periods making saves on the first 28 shots faced in the game, but gave up three goals on the final nine shots of the game. For the Bruins, the team is trying to recover from a loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. Boston had a 3-1 lead heading into the third when the Bruins fell apart losing 4-3 at TD Bank North Garden.
Buffalo notes: Following Tuesday’s loss in Toronto, Sabres head coach Ted Nolan had some choice words about the team’s performance in the first 10 games this season. “I always give our guys a 10-game grace period,” Nolan said. “You give them a little bit of rope and maybe some will hang themselves. The last 10 or so game we saw that.” Nolan also added that Cody Hodgson has been demoted to the fourth line for Thursday’s game. Samson Reinhart will play in his ninth, and potentially final game with the Sabres. If Reinhart were to play after the ninth game, his first year of his entry-level deal would kick in. Patrick Kaleta could possibly be ready to play sometime within the next week, but will not play against the Bruins.
Opponent notes: Boston has not got off to the start the have wanted to have, and a possible cause for concern are injuries. The Bruins are hurting, especially on defense. The Bruins will not have Zdeno Chara (knee), Kevan Miller (upper-body), or Torey Krug (finger) on defense for Thursday’s game and could be out for the next few weeks. The Bruins could also be without Brad Marchand after he tweaked something in his body at practice on Wednesday. Marchand is expected to be a game-time decision for Boston. The Bruins hope to get healthy, and soon as they continue to play below average hockey for Boston.
Conclusion: The Sabres will lean on Jhonas Enroth to try and get Buffalo’s first win at home. Niklas Svedberg is expected to start in net for the Bruins for the second time against the Sabres. Opening face-off is set for 7pm. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.