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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Sabres look to slow Bruins’ surge

Feb 26, 2014, 8:38 AM EDT

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 21: Ville Leino #23 of the Buffalo Sabres passes the puck in front of Gregory Campbell #11 of the Boston Bruins in the first period during the game at TD Garden on December 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Boston Bruins will head to First Niagara Center to take on the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The next time these two teams meet, the Buffalo Sabres are likely to look significantly different. Without a hope of making the playoffs, Buffalo is poised to trade several of its key players, including starting goaltender Ryan Miller, top forward Matt Moulson, and perhaps captain Steve Ott.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Before that happens though, the Sabres can make life difficult for the Bruins and prevent them from sowing up their season series, which Boston currently leads 2-1 with two games remaining, including tonight’s contest.

As play resumes, Boston has a seven-point edge on the Atlantic Division title, but the second place Tampa Bay Lightning are about to get injured forward Steven Stamkos back and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Caray Price should have returned to North America with plenty of confidence after leading Canda to gold in the 2014 Winter Games.

Under ideal circumstances, the Bruins would like to lock up the division before Tampa Bay, Montreal, and, for that matter, Toronto, have a chance to make things interesting again. Buffalo can certainly make that task a little more difficult for the Bruins tonight.

This will be a battle of backup goaltenders as Tuukka Rask didn’t even make the trip to Buffalo, according to CSN New England.

Rask has never played in more than 45 NHL games in a single season, but he’s already taken part in 43 contests in 2013-14 and is getting some time off to readjust after representing Finland in the Olympics. Part of what Boston would gain by securing the division title with time to spare would be the luxury of frequently resting Rask before what the Bruins hope will be another lengthy playoffs run.

Buffalo will counter with Jhonas Enroth as he enters a critical part of his career. If Miller is traded or leaves as an unrestricted free agent this summer, then Enroth will have a chance to establish himself as the Sabres’ starting goaltender. He hasn’t had an ideal season, but a strong showing against Boston following the break would be a meaningful step in the right direction.

For the Sabres, steps like that are the best they can hope for. If they end up spoiling other teams objectives at the same time, then that would be the icing on the cake for them.

  1. nhstateline - Feb 26, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    The Bruins news today will be off the ice. The 9-40% increase in ticket prices is starting to leak. Look for a lot of Jeremy Jacobs hate coming this afternoon…….

    • upyourstodd - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      there goes my non refundable 200 dollar down payment to get on the season ticket waiting list.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      The original ticket prices are terrible but the killer is the secondary ticket buyers jacking up the prices even more.

      • mgp1219 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        You couldn’t be more accurate, jc. That is by far the worst thing with regard to ticket prices. It’s all based on a supply & demand market, so when people start refusing to pay those ridiculous prices to the “re-sellers” (formerly known as scalpers), then prices will come down. I paid $300.00 for a pair of tickets for a Philly game last season last season and the face value on the tickets was $40.00 each. I actually wrote a letter to the Bruins, and it was explained to me that the face value on tickets is for season ticket holders. Also, even if I wanted to purchase tickets directly from the ticket office (which is an option I was offered when I got a phone call in response to my letter), the tickets were priced on a sliding scale, or “umbrella pricing”, as it was phrased to me, which was based on the opponent and day & time of the game. Basically, supply & demand.

        Can’t win unless fans stop paying those “re-sellers” and let them get stuck with a few hundred tickets.

      • jcmeyer10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        Haha potatoe potato on the scalpers. Just because Ace Ticket can sponsor CSNE programming doesn’t make it any less shameless.

        Yes, they’re needs to be some push back from fans on this.

    • nhstateline - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      The tickets I have were like $15 when I first got them. Now they’re going to be $45. Not a crazy price but a crazy price increase considering they’ve gone up from 15 to 45 in 5 years. By way of comparison the AHL tickets I have that are 14 rows up from center ice are $19 bucks a game. It’s one of the good things about living around Boston, there are a lot of choices in what one wants to pay. In addition to several AHL teams, there are several high level college teams. All of which provide a good night out at better value for money than the do the Bruins. That said, the NHL is the NHL meaning it is the best game experience but the question is increasingly how much better versus money paid ?

      • jcmeyer10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Saw Seguins return to the Garden and the Sabres game after the Marathon Bombings. Other than that, I can’t really say that the other experience were much better than the picture from my 80 inch projector with a glass of Bowmore neat hanging out with my lady and dog.

    • drewsylvania - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      Already wasn’t going because the prices were already too high. I think his goal is to fill the seats entirely with corporate partners. *** hole

    • tdrusher225 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      I can’t stand it, so many owners in markets like these can raise the prices as high as they want and it won’t matter because there is such a high demand. It’d be nice to see tickets become available to passionate fans who can’t afford these crazy prices, as opposed to the constant parade of rich, casual fans who go because it’s “cool”.

  2. 2qswing - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Sabres for the 6th time on nbcsn this year.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Yah it’s getting awkward. I want to see more Western Conference teams on the Rivalry Night. I am a Bruins fan who thinks this game has no real reason to be on TV tonight.

      1) Kings v Avalanche
      2) Red Wings v Canadians
      3) Blues v Canucks
      4) Sabres v Bruins

  3. dropthepuckeh - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    I’m just happy to have the NHL back and so many games over the next few months. I loved the Olympic games but for me it didn’t compare to the NHL. It feels like its been months since they last played. With the trade deadline looming its going to be a great week….

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