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NHL Anaheim Ducks

Buffalo Sabres – Boston Bruins Preview

Greg M. Cooper – US PRESSWIRE

It’s safe to say this game has been circled on many schedules for a long time.

Since the Buffalo Sabres went out and picked up Steve Ott and John Scott, the question around the league has been how will that first game with Boston go? If Bruins’ coach Claude Julien‘s move this morning to dress Lane MacDermid is any indication, this will be a slugfest.

The Sabres lost some edge with Patrick Kaleta’s neck injury sustained Tuesday night against Toronto, but Ott, Scott, Marcus Foligno and Mike Weber will play their parts in the melee for sure. The Bruins are a tough team top to bottom, but Milan Lucic, the scourge of Buffalo, and Shawn Thornton, along with MacDermid, will play the biggest roles tonight.

Basically, for those who don’t like the staged, as soon as the first puck is dropped scraps, don’t watch the first five minutes of this one.

Expect the Sabres to lineup with Scott and Ott on the ice to start, likely squared off against MacDermid and Thornton. MacDermid’s appearance can only mean one thing: Julien doesn’t want him sitting, likely with Scott, for five at any point in this game. The Lucic – David KrejciNathan Horton line has been Boston’s best, so losing Lucic for any stretch will not play into Julien’s strategy.

But, even with the pregames essentially equating to a weigh-in before a heavyweight bout, what has been lost is Boston has gotten off to an excellent start where the Sabres have sputtered since winning their first two games in convincing fashion. The Sabres can skate with the Bruins – they’ve showed it time and time again over the past few seasons. If they get the “who’s tougher” contest over early, fans could be in for a great game of hockey.

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Quick Hits for the Bruins game:

Alexander Sulzer is in, TJ Brennan is out after Brennan played for Sulzer on Tuesday night. Sulzer brings a bit more of a defensive presence, something the Sabres will need in order to control their own zone against a tough Bruins forecheck. Mike Weber will remain in the lineup for an injured Robyn Regehr.

Tyler Seguin has not had the start everyone expected after looking dominant for Biel in the Swiss-A League during the lockout, but the Sabres will obviously be very interested in him when he’s on the ice, especially when he’s able to work in space on the power play.

This will be Ryan Miller’s first start in Boston since the Lucic incident of last November. While you can expect the Bruins to crash Miller often, it’s unlikely to see any fireworks involving Miller tonight.

For those looking to gauge Mikhail Grigorenko’s progress, tonight will be an excellent chance to see where the kid’s at in all facets of his NHL game. He’ll get hit more tonight than he has in the six games prior to this, so it will be telling.

For those watching the game in a Boston-area market, you’re in for a treat. The Bruins’ play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards despises Steve Ott, as displayed in this previous matchup - the Ott hating really starts around 4:00 - when Ott was with Dallas. If Ott is his bristling self, Edwards may have a coronary on the air. The highlight? When Ott receives a 10 minute misconduct with just over eight minutes remaining, Edwards has the following, homer-tastic beauty: “That’s the perfect way for Ott to get out of it, ya know? He knows there’s eight and a half to go, maybe takes the weaklings, cowards way out. Gets a 10 minute misconduct and gets sent off.” Although Edwards referring to Ott standing in the hallway behind the bench during a line brawl as “brave Steve” is pretty classic as well.  Overall just some really great stuff.

 

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season: @SwordPlay18.