In their last meeting, the Buffalo Sabres walked into TD Garden and took the place over, beating the Bruins in a 7-4 victory. Thomas Vanek continued his Boston dominance by adding his second 5-point night to the season. He now has a career total of 54 points (28+26) in 45 games versus Boston.
John Scott was brought in to be an enforcer as a direct result of last year’s Lucic-Miller incident, and he established himself by taking on Shawn Thornton, knocking him out of the game with a concussion. With the Bruins worried about the gained grit, the Sabres stars were allowed more ice and time.
Thornton on his battle with Scott:
“I’ve done this for a long time, it’s on me. It’s my job to make sure that I’m available for that, so it’s not one of our star players that has to do it. That’s part of my job and I accept it fully. Plus, if I knocked [Scott] out, I wasn’t expecting somebody to come grab me the next shift. That’s part of it, we’re both men, it happens.”
Boston relies heavily on their defense and goaltending, and Dougie Hamilton is a young stud-defenseman that is learning the NHL game in an impressive manner. The 6’5’’, 199 lb former first round pick, whose parents are both former Olympians, has enormous potential to be a powerplay quarterback and a great all-around defender once he fills out his frame and learns to use his size.
The Bruins are near the bottom of the league on the power play, but near the top on the penalty kill, while Buffalo is near the middle of the pack in both columns. The biggest disadvantage for the Sabres going into this game may come down to faceoffs. Boston leads the league at 59.4% and Buffalo has a league worst 43%.
Going into the first game of the second quarter of the season, the Sabres are looking to continue their two game winning streak, both of which were tight battles. Ryan Miller stood tall against the Islanders Saturday night with 41 saves on 43 shots. The Sabres only took 15 shots in that game, but made them count. Vanek netted another goal and added an assist, keeping him the league leader in both goals and points.