Game Day: Bruins @ Sabres
Boston is in Buffalo hunting for a "W."
Friday, 01.29.2010 / 9:18 AM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com
McQuaid, Begin and Sturm are the scratches. Tuukka Rask is in goal vs. Buffalo's Ryan Miller.
Heading over to the live blog. Click the link to the right.
The Bruins have a chance to turn the page tonight.
"We’ve had four days here to try and straighten out our team and get some things going in the right direction," said Coach Julien. "Right now I stand here trying to say maybe less and hoping to see more.
"I think we all know that we’re in a position right now where we’ve got to control our destiny and to do that, you have to win hockey games.
"You look at the standings and everybody’s pretty well packed in there. We do have the luxury right now as we speak to have a few games on hand on some of those teams, and this is where you have to take advantage of those games by winning," he said.
With Sturm and Begin participating in the extra work, it seems clear that Coach Julien is not going to have their services in tonight's game.
"I couldn't tell you right now," said Julien. "Today they can't, but tomorrow is going to be another day.
"We keep checking on them every day, to see how much closer they're getting. And when they're on the ice they're getting close.
"But unfortunately not today."
Marco Sturm, Tim Thomas, Adam McQuaid and Steve Begin remain on the ice, working out.
Tuukka Rask was the first off the ice this morning. This generally indicates that he will be starting between the posts tonight against Buffalo.
The word from the Buffalo contingent is that everyone is skating (and that would include Steve Begin and Marco Sturm).
The Black & Gold should be on the ice for morning skate in just over 15 minutes.
Asked what the B's need most out of this weekend, Savard was pretty clear: "Just wins, you know. Doesn’t matter how or whatever, we just need wins. We’ve just got to come together and get the results we need. If we do that, we’ll be fine."
When teams are in a slump, the advice comes from everywhere.
Case in point: Marc Savard's weekly visit with WZLX's Karlson & McKenzie.
"Well, they were trying to help me out before I started playing again -- trying to help the team -- and they made this therapist thing.
"It said, 'As you skate down the ice...' with really calming music, '...you come to the net with the puck. You flip the puck in the net.'
"So it was pretty funny and they were just trying to help out and have a good laugh," he said.
But with a five game skid in tow, the B's will hit the ice with a lot more baggage than anyone would have thought they could/would carry into a game.
The losing streak, scoring issues, injury issues -- it has all piled up on the B's.
Enter Dr. Savard and his precision playmaking. And Savard has a specialist on hand to help.
"Yesterday in practice we had some good chemistry down low moving pucks," said Savard. "You know, he’s a smart guy, so when I give it to him he’ll give it back and I can find him again.
"So that was nice to have a guy like that."
Milan Lucic will be on Savard's other wing and should help the skating surgeons the proper amount of room to work.
"Obviously Lucic does his job along the wing," said Savard. "So we’ve got a nice mix there.
"Hopefully we can bring it into the game and cause some damage."
The Bruins have nine more games before the Olympic break and hope to break back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
"After this weekend, we’re pretty much every other night right to the Olympic break and then every other night after that," Savard said. "So we just got to be focused on games. I think every guy loves playing games. If you don’t know your system by now, you’re in trouble. Especially having Claude for so many years, everybody here is accustomed to it."
|Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, left, watches the puck as Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers checks Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, right, during the third period of the NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Boston won 2-1 in overtime. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)|
The Northeast Division leaders, ranked third in the Eastern Conference (with 69 points, just one point behind New Jersey) with a 34-16-2 docket, the Buffalo based squad has taken points out of seven of their last ten (4-3-3) and bedeviled New Jersey on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory.
The Sabres are also fifth in the league standings, so, no matter how you slice it, the Bruins will have a tough task when they hit the ice in Western New York this evening.
"They’re a pretty good team, playing well," said B's head coach Claude Julien yesterday afternoon. "I watched them play [Wednesday] night against Jersey and they’re playing with lots of confidence.
"They’ve got great goaltending, which keeps them in the game. They give up 40 shots last night, but only give up a goal.
"So we’re already challenged a little bit in the goal scoring department so we’re going to have to work that much harder to try and get past this guy."
"This guy" is one of the best goalie in the NHL -- Ryan Miller.
Miller, who will join Boston's Tim Thomas on the United State's Olympic hockey team, leads the league in save percentage (.934) and is amongst the league leaders in goals against average (2.06 2nd), wins (28-11-5, 5th), and shutouts (5, 3rd).
But maybe the B's may catch the Sabres in a dull patch.
"If you really ask everybody what the truth is, they're pretty tired and pretty zoned out from being away for 14 days and traveling," said Miller recently. "It's not something we do out east very often, so you kind of feel for the guys out west."
Meanwhile, the Bruins have had three full days to rest and recuperate and retool. And by most accounts, it is a hungry Bruins team having breakfast right now in Buffalo.
"[Ready] to get back? Absolutely," said Julien. "It’s been a good week for us to practice and try and get our game back together here and at the same time you know, itching, wanting to get back to play and hopefully see the results from our work this week."
We'll know those results in just over 12 hours.