Buffalo Sabres Game Preview #22 – Boston Bruins 11/21/19

Sabres Projected Lines:

Jimmy Vesey – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner – Evan Rodrigues – Conor Sheary

Victor Olofsson – Casey Mittelstadt – Rasmus Asplund

Zemgus Girgensons – Johan Larsson – Curtis Lazar

Jake McCabe – Rasmus Ristolainen

Colin Miller – Brandon Montour

Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Bruins Projected Lines:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Kreji – Charlie Coyle

Anders Bjork – Par Lindholm – Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kurley – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo

Urho Vaakanainen – Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

3 Things to Watch

Changes to Sabres Powerplay

Tuesday against the Wild, the Sabres powerplay units received a slight adjustment. Instead of Skinner on the first unit, Ristolainen stepped in as a second defenseman.

The powerplay lines read:

Dahlin – Ristolainen – Eichel – Reinhart – Olofsson

Miller – Mittelstadt – Rodrigues – Sheary – Skinner

With Johansson out, that second unit really had no chance. They were just a mix of the rest of the skill guys on the team thrown together to give Eichel’s unit a break.

Think that’s too negative or harsh? Take the four of Miller, Mittelstadt, Rodrigues and Sheary. Betweeen the four of them, they have a combined six goals and 12 assists in 68 games played. Skinner alone has eight goals and five assists, so I understand why Krueger is trying inject any kind of production in the second unit.

We’ll see what Krueger deploys on the man advantage this evening as they’re keeping their lineup under wraps.

Patrice Bergeron back in Boston’s lineup

Olympic Gold medalist, Stanley Cup Champion, King Clancy winner (Leadership-Humanitarian award) and three time Selke trophy winner (best defensive forward) Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup after missing a handful of games with a lower body injury.

Even though he’s 34 years old, Patrice Bergeron is still vital to the success of the Bruins. He’s the pivot to one of the most productive lines in the NHL on a yearly basis. He’s also one of three on that line with an absolutely insane team friendly contract. He’ll bring the offense with Marchand and Pastrnak on his wings with incredible consistency, but he provides stifling defense every game making him one of, if not the best defensive forward in the league.

Brick Wall Rask

Tuukka Rask, longtime Bruins puck stopper, is putting up an incredible season so far. With 2.06 GAA and a .930 Sv% in 17 games, Rask is likely to stay in the top-5 in plenty of goaltending stats with his consistency and the team defense in front of him.

The Bruins have given up the 4th fewest goals (54), while scorinig 75 themselves. A plus-21 in goal differential leads the league so lets go over this again:

  1. Tukka Rask is playing at an elite level statistically
  2. The Bruins defense is shutting teams down and they put plenty of pucks in the net themselves
  3. Buffalo’s scoring woes are incredibly evident

I’m not sure how to spin this in a way that makes it look optimistic for the Sabres, so here’s a snippet of Herb Brooks’ famous speech that pretty much applies to tonight:

“One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.”

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