TD Bank Facebook Twitter Instagram Bruins Mobile App
Features
 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

B's Look to Tame Buffalo

Playoff positioning is on the line tonight

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 9:31 AM ET / Features
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
X
Share with your Friends


B\'s Look to Tame Buffalo
BOSTON -- There will be plenty of things for the Bruins (26-13-7) to worry about when the Buffalo Sabres (20-20-5) come a calling on Thursday night in TD Garden. Goalie Ryan Miller (18 wins) and left wing Thomas Vanek (17 goals) are chief among those issues.

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, right, stops a scoring attempt by Buffalo Sabres winger Drew Stafford during overtime of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Buffalo won 7-6 in a shoot-out. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)
Not to mention that the B's have a 2-1-1 record versus the Sabres and the last time the two clubs tangled, Buffalo dropped a touchdown on the Bruins during the B's 7-6 overtime loss to Buffalo on January 1.

But nobody would blame fans from around the "Hub of Hockey" if they were taking at least a peek at the out-of-town scoreboard while watching the Black & Gold take on their blue and gold clad brethren from Western New York.

As of this morning, the Northeast Division leading Bruins are tied with the Southeast Division leading Lightning (who play the Thrashers tonight) with 59 points and a share of home-ice advantage in this springs’ playoffs. But only six points separate eighth place Atlanta (53 points) from their counterparts in Tampa Bay and Boston. The Canadiens, Rangers, Capitals and Penguins (who stand second in the Atlantic with 62 points) are the teams in between.

Beyond that, the Canadiens are only three points (56) behind Boston in the race for the top spot in the Northeast.

Montreal is the only club in the top eight spots of the Eastern Conference that doesn’t play tonight. But with the other seven teams (eight including the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes) all skating tonight, the Eastern Conference playoff picture could look very different in the morning. 

But thanks in part to a sweep of their home and home series with Carolina on Monday and Tuesday, the B's enter Thursday 6-2-2 in their last 10 contests, just a slice smoother than the 6-3-1 record held by the Sabres in their last 10 games.

Obviously, the Bruins were excited with their work on Monday when they dropped their own 7-0 football score on Carolina, but until the third period on Tuesday, Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien wasn't necessarily thrilled with his club's effort.

"I thought we started the game really well -- that the first ten minutes was good, and then, the next ten, they kind of took over," said Julien, postgame.

"I thought we got ourselves in real trouble in the second period when, I think, the first eleven minutes we killed six of them [on the penalty kill] and really gave them the momentum and the control of the game and then they just started coming hard at us.

"That was a tough period for us," he said.

But during the third stanza, the B's showed their usual resiliency.

"We’re in a situation there to...control our destiny," said Julien of the tied score after two in Carolina's RBC Center. "I thought the third period was a little better.

"It got us back into the lead there and at the same time our guys kept plugging away," he added. "You know, I think the confidence is there and I know in the third period we’ve been a good team.

"I think, again, the fact that we were tied and it was twenty minutes that was going to decide the game, our guys felt confident they could go out there and be a better team."

Milan Lucic notched the game-winner at 11:49.

"No matter what the score is, we've always been able to play our game in the third," said Lucic to NESN's camera's postgame on Tuesday.

"We came back in the second intermission and talked about...getting pucks back in deep and playing the puck possession game down low.

"That's where we were creating most of our chances and that's what we did in the third and I think that's why we gave ourselves a good chance to win.

"That's why we won," he added.

Tim Thomas' 43 saves certainly helped, too. But, in terms of Thursday night's match-up, it was the poise that the Bruins showed in matching up with a very desperate Carolina club (who are still in the playoff hunt with 50 points) that might bode best for the B's against Buffalo.

"They were really pushing hard. I mean they looked like a team that was battling for a playoff spot," Julien said to Naoko Funayama on Tuesday night.

"But it was our job to push them down and not let them up.  We had an opportunity with these back-to-back games [Monday and Tuesday] to finish it off and we did some damage to their playoff hopes.

"They pushed really hard...for the majority of the night, but in the long run we found a way to win," he said.

Bruins fans hope that the Black & Gold can do the same thing tonight.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
2 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
3 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
4 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
5 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
6 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
7 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
8 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 53 19 26 7 45
L. Eriksson 53 16 24 10 40
D. Krejci 43 12 27 1 39
R. Spooner 53 11 27 -8 38
B. Marchand 48 25 12 11 37
Z. Chara 51 7 21 7 28
M. Beleskey 51 8 18 8 26
T. Krug 52 3 21 2 24
J. Hayes 51 11 12 -8 23
B. Connolly 50 7 9 -6 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 19 16 5 .916 2.56
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .911 2.58
Hallmark Health System
BRUINS FAN POLL
 
Friendly's - Official Family Restaurant and Ice Cream of the Boston Bruins
NHL Ticket Exchange
Dunkin' Donuts   AMI Graphics   Geico - Aim for savings

Click the instant ticket and enter to win Second Chance Drawings