BUFFALO (2-3-1) AT BOSTON (5-0-1)
Even a foreign object couldn't slow down the Boston Bruins, and it's been almost two years since the Buffalo Sabres have managed to do it at TD Garden.
The Bruins go for their longest season-opening home winning streak in over 22 years Thursday night when they try to continue their success against the Sabres.
Boston (5-0-1) has been one of the NHL's best teams this season, and a big reason for that success is wins in each of its first four home games. The Bruins last opened a season 5-0-0 at home in 1990-91, when they played at Boston Garden.
"We've played some pretty good hockey so far," coach Claude Julien said. "And the games that weren't quite as good as we should have been, we found a way to win. And to be a good team you've got to be able to do that."
Their dazzling start this season wasn't derailed by a bizarre incident in Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win over New Jersey. Tyler Seguin scored the opening shootout attempt, but the referees ruled that he had to go again after an object from the crowd was flung into the crease.
Seguin converted the do-over before Brad Marchand netted the decisive attempt in the sixth round.
"That's a first," Seguin said. "I'm still not sure what it was. Maybe a hot dog."
Boston will try to remain perfect on home ice and make it four straight wins there against Buffalo (2-3-1). Including three wins in the opening round of the 2009-10 playoffs, the Bruins are 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games against the Northeast Division rivals.
Seguin has scored four goals and set up two others over the last three home games versus Buffalo.
Nathan Horton has points in four straight contests, totaling three goals and two assists. He's tallied three goals while assisting on another in his past four home meetings with the Sabres.
Since opening the season with back-to-back wins, Buffalo has gone 0-3-1 in its last four, including a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Tuesday after Ryan Miller surrendered a goal with 1.5 seconds left in overtime.
The Sabres suffered another blow when right wing Patrick Kaleta was taken to a hospital with a neck injury after being hit by the Maple Leafs' Mike Brown, who was assessed a minor penalty.
Coach Lindy Ruff didn't think the hit was dirty, and Kaleta was released from the hospital Wednesday, but is out indefinitely.
"It wasn't a blatant run a guy from behind," Ruff said.
Thomas Vanek had an assist Tuesday after missing a 3-2 loss at Washington two days earlier due to a muscle injury. He has 10 points during a season-opening five-game scoring streak, one shy of his career high set last season when he had as many points in six contests.
Vanek's 25 goals and 49 points versus Boston are his highest totals against any opponent. He has four goals and five assists during a six-game point streak at TD Garden.
Miller, who gave up more than three goals for the first time this season Tuesday, has won six of his last seven starts against the Bruins behind a 2.47 goals-against average.