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Preview; Bruins return home to host the playoff hungry Sabres

March 10, 2011

After winning seven straight the Bruins are currently riding a two-game losing streak. They will host the Sabres before embarking on a four-game road trip against four non-playoff teams. The Bruins are beginning any easy portion of the schedule and after losing two points at the top of the Northeast with a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. The game was of course shrouded by Max Pacioretty’s injury and the controversy surrounding the hit.

The NHL thought that the play wasn’t a suspend-able offense but the Montreal police, after being flooded with the equivalent of 911 calls, are starting an investigation into the incident. Ridiculous. On a bright note, the Bruins won’t lose the services of Zdeno Chara, who is irreplaceable on the blue line.

The Sabres are in a dog fight with the Rangers and Hurricanes for the final spot in the playoffs. It’s beginning to appear that two of those teams will make the playoffs and one will not. Buffalo has played fewer games than both teams and needs to make their games in hand count to secure a playoff spot. They’ve been up to the task, going 6-1-1 in their last eight roadies.

The Sabres have been a tough match up for the Bruins this season. The Sabres lead the season series 3-2 in large part because it seems that they’ve solved Tim Thomas. Only Pittsburgh and Montreal have better GPG stats in the East against the should-be Vezina winner. A major part of that has been Drew Stafford‘s systematic dismantling of the Bruins. He has seven goals in three games against the B’s. He has two hat tricks against the Bruins this year, both coming in one-goal wins for the Sabres.

Thomas Vanek is questionable for the Sabres tonight as he battles the flu but the other thorn in the Bruins side, Jason Pominville, is expected to play. Pominville has three goals and five assists in eight games against the Bruins this season. If the Bruins can hinder Pominville and Stafford in the slightest they should do well. But there is no reason to believe it will be that easy.

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