BUFFALO — Good morning from the chilly, rainy edge of Lake Erie, where tonight the Bruins will battle the Sabres in a pre-Thanksgiving tilt that has everyone wondering how the Sabres will respond after their passive display in Boston Nov. 12 in the wake of Milan Lucic running into Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.
”It’s what makes sports sports,” Lucic said, noting the subplot that has been festering for nearly two weeks. ”It builds rivalry…creates energy inside the game.”
The Bruins are riding a league-best nine-game winning streak. Only the much-improved Minnesota Wild, leaders in the Western Conference, come close with their four-game run of W’s.
The Sabres can’t match Boston’s muscle or scoring power, so they’ll have to try to win this one with an emphasis on tempo–a persistent forecheck and opportunisitic scoring.
Lindy Ruff, the Sabres coach, noted again this morning that he was disappointed in his club’s lack of response to Lucic’s actions in Boston and said, ”That won’t happen again.”
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST
Record: Bruins, 12-7-0; Sabres, 12-8-0.
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Benoit Pouliot, Steve Kampfer
Storylines: Likely won’t know until game time, but the bet here is that Pouliot sits in favor of Caron (11 games, 1-2–3). Pouliot was benched Monday night in Montreal after picking up 6 PIMs in the second period, with the Bruins nursing a precarious 1-0 lead…Look for Thomas, the 1-0 winner Monday night in Montreal, to get the nod in net here and probably Friday vs. the Red Wings, leaving Rask to face the Jets at the Garden on Saturday night….Jhonas Enroth is the probable starter in the Sabres net…Jochen Hecht, sidelined all season with lingering concussion symptoms from last year’s playoffs, will suit up for his first game in 2011-’12 for the Sabres….The Bruins are looking to win 10 in a row for the first time since 2008-’09…Tomas Vanek, with 204 career goals in 469 games entering the season, has potted 11 in his first 20 games this season, a pace slightly ahead of the career best 43 he scored his sophomore season. The Austrian-born left winger has the skill set, size and shot to be a 50-goal scorer….Ex-Bruin Brad Boyes, shifted back to center for the first time since his Boston days, is 2-6–8 in 20 games…Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta are the two likeliest candidates to take on Lucic. Kaleta, though, did not skate in Tuesday’s practice….Tonight’s guys in stripes are referees Greg Kimmerly and Brad Meider; linesmen Brad Kovachik and Scott Driscoll.…