The Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres will be meeting for the second half of a home-and-home series at the TD Garden on Saturday afternoon. This will be the fourth overall matchup of the 2016-17 season between the two clubs. In the previous three games, Boston has been able to come away victorious.
The most recent game took place on Thursday evening in Buffalo. After the Sabres jumped out to an early two-goal lead, the Bruins battled back to claim a 4-2 win. Marcus Foligno and Kyle Okposo scored for Buffalo while Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Ryan Spooner tallied goals for Boston.
In their last few games, the Bruins have struggled to get off to a good start. Playing from behind is a tough task in the NHL, so they will be looking to avoid falling behind early once again. Claude Julien’s team has also struggled in the Garden posting a poor 8-9-0 record. Starting strong and securing a home victory will be important for Boston.
Buffalo will be looking to avoid a season sweep against their Atlantic Division rival. They have had their fair share of problems dealing with the Bruins this season and desperately need to register some points within the division. They are currently sitting 10th in the division with 34 points.
There is some bad blood between these two teams heading into this matinee matchup. The game on Thursday turned scrappy after David Backes took a hard hit from Will Carrier. Backes missed the rest of the game and is likely out for this tilt as well. After the hit, Adam McQuaid attempted to fight Carrier, but the refs stepped in to break it up. Fans in attendance should expect to see a hard hitting game this time around again.
Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-1:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, MSG-B, 98.5 The Sports Hub, WGR 550
2016-17 Season Series: Bruins Lead 3-0
Buffalo Sabres-13-14-8- 34 Points
Road Record: 6-6-5
Hot Players: Marcus Foligno, Jack Eichel, Brian Gionta
Key Injuries: Tyler Ennis, Ryan O’Reilly, Cody McCormick, Taylor Fedun, Dmitry Kulikov
Marcus Foligno-Jack Eichel-Matt Moulson
Zemgus Girgensons-Sam Reinhart-Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane-Johan Larsson-Brian Gionta
Nicolas Deslauriers-Derek Grant-Justin Bailey
Jake McCabe-Rasmus Ristolainen
Zach Bogosian-Cody Franson
Josh Gorges-Justin Falk
Boston Bruins-19-15-4- 42 Points
Home Record: 8-9-0
Hot Players: David Krejci, Ryan Spooner
Key Injuries: David Backes, Matt Beleskey, John-Michael Liles
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Frank Vatrano
Tim Schaller-Austin Czarnik-Riley Nash
Anton Blidh-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] This will be the fourth meeting of the 2016-17 season between the two clubs. Boston has won the previous three games.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] David Krejci has been hot in the month of December. In 15 games he has posted five goals and five assists.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] This will be the 285th time Boston and Buffalo have played. Boston leads the all-time series with a 134-110-29-11 record.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Sabres’ forward Ryan O’Reilly will once again be out of the lineup. In 27 games, he has posted seven goals and 18 points.
This is an important game for both clubs. The Sabres need to get some wins to stay with the rest of the Atlantic Division pack, while the Bruins are trying to hang on to a playoff spot. Spooner and Krejci have been excellent lately and will need to continue their strong play to try and help secure a victory. Jack Eichel will be looking to get back on the scoreboard in front of his hometown crowd as well. He has struggled to find points lately, but he is always dangerous when he steps on the ice.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.