At approximately 3 p.m. Saturday, the NHL announced that the Bruins’ 7 p.m. game against Tampa Bay at TD Garden had been postponed. No makeup date has been confirmed.
The 4 p.m. lifting of the driving ban and the MBTA shutdown made it impractical for Garden workers to arrive in time to prepare the rink.
“Although both clubs and the assigned on-ice officials are in Boston, travel conditions remain too hazardous for fans, security personnel, and TD Garden staff to get to the arena,” the NHL said
The game was originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday. On Friday, the Bruins changed the time to 7 p.m.
The Bruins were preparing to play Saturday. They practiced at the Garden Friday morning, and all the players live downtown. Coaches and staff stayed at a local hotel Friday night.
The Lightning had arrived in Boston Thursday night after their game against New Jersey. They practiced at the Garden Friday and held their usual morning skate Saturday.
Referees Chris Rooney and Marc Joannette and linesmen Jay Sharrers and Brian Murphy were in town and ready to work the game.
The Bruins were scheduled to fly from Hanscom Field to Buffalo Saturday night. They are scheduled to play the Sabres in Buffalo at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Ready for battle
On Sunday, at least one of three injured Bruins (Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, Brad Marchand) will return to the lineup.
The Bruins assigned Ryan Spooner to Providence Thursday, indicating that they have at least 12 healthy forwards. Spooner was recalled on an emergency basis to play in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Montreal.
Paille (eye), Marchand (undisclosed), and Thornton (concussion) all practiced Friday. Marchand was one of four forwards on the first line, along with Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Tyler Seguin. Paille and Thornton practiced on the fourth line alongside Gregory Campbell and Lane MacDermid.
Sunday’s game will mark the first time the Bruins face the Sabres and strongman John Scott since a 7-4 loss on Jan. 31 at the Garden.
In the first period of that game, Scott fought Thornton, who suffered a concussion. Thornton didn’t play against Montreal. After practice Thursday, Thornton said it was an honest fight that he ended up losing.
If Thornton plays against Buffalo, it’s possible he seeks a rematch with Scott. In their previous fight, Thornton tried to tie up Scott immediately and prevent the 6-foot-8-inch behemoth from using his reach. Scott fended off Thornton’s approach, kept him at bay with his left hand, and tagged the Boston enforcer with repeated rights.
It’s less likely that Zdeno Chara, the Bruin best-equipped to tangle with Scott, seeks retribution. Twice, Chara fought ex-Ottawa teammate Chris Neil in response to incidents. Two seasons ago, Neil initiated — and won — a scrap with Dennis Seidenberg, who is not a fighter. The next game, Chara challenged Neil.
Last season, Neil flattened Johnny Boychuk with an open-ice hit. Boychuk suffered a concussion. Later in the game, Chara asked Neil to fight. Neil accepted.
Thornton said he can fight his own battles and that he doesn’t want Chara getting involved. Even without Thornton’s blessing, Chara might have been discouraged to fight Scott. Chara is the Bruins’ best defenseman, and is averaging 25:29 of ice time. Scott was averaging 3:52 of action entering Saturday’s game against the Islanders. With Chara in the box for five minutes, Thomas Vanek would have even more space to work his magic.
Scott is also arguably the NHL’s most dangerous fighter, and Chara could get injured if he tangles with him.
In Friday’s practice, Dougie Hamilton replaced Chara at the point on the No. 1 power-play unit. Hamilton’s shot isn’t as hard as Chara’s, but he has more mobility along the blue line. Hamilton also has been effective at slipping his shot on goal through traffic. The Bruins have the league’s worst power play (8.8 percent) . . . Tuukka Rask is the likely starter vs. the Sabres.