Boston at Buffalo
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 29, 2016
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo
BUFFALO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by Sport Xchange) – The Boston Bruins have played markedly better on the road than at home, although they have enjoyed success against the next opponent no matter the venue. The Bruins will wrap up a four-game road trip with a visit to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, looking to notch their sixth consecutive victory in the series against their Atlantic Division rival.
Boston, which will host the Sabres on Saturday in the second leg of the home-and-home, also has won its last five games in Buffalo – permitting a mere six goals in that span. The Bruins are coming off consecutive one-goal defeats, including a 4-3 setback at white-hot Columbus on Tuesday night. The Sabres, who snapped a four-game skid (0-2-2) with a 4-3 victory at Detroit on Tuesday, are six points behind third-place Boston in the division with three games in hand. “They’re within earshot,” Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said of the Bruins. “You have a chance of sweeping these two games … and putting yourself right near them.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), MSG-B (Buffalo)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (18-15-4): Boston trailed by three goals less than 10 minutes into Tuesday’s matchup against a Columbus squad that was seeking its 13th straight win, but showed its mettle by battling back with three unanswered tallies. One bright spot for the Bruins was the play of David Krejci, who scored the tying goal and set up another score while unleashing a game-high eight shots on goal. “David was really good, to start with,” Boston coach Claude Julien said of Krejci. “I thought David was skating well, making things happen.”
ABOUT THE SABRES (13-13-8): Buffalo had allowed the opposition to score first in seven straight games before Evander Kane netted the first of his two goals in Detroit and capped the victory with the game-winning tally. “That’s the momentum we have to build into our game and build it right from the start, use our fans, use our building to gain momentum,” Bylsma said after earning his 300th career victory. Reinforcements could be on the way for the Sabres, with defenseman Cody Franson practicing fully Wednesday after missing the last three games.
1. Bruins G Tuukka Rask has permitted one goal in two games versus the Sabres this season and is 11-5-1 against them lifetime.
2. All eight of Kane’s goals this season have come in the past 11 games.
3. Bruins D Torey Krug has five assists during a three-game point streak.