It’s no secret that the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins are not fans of one another. The two age-old Adams Division rivals have had countless classic battles over the years. On November 12, Milan Lucic did nothing but add fuel to the fire when he steamrolled Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller during the first period of a Sabres-Bruins game at TD Garden. Miller made an attempt to pour some kerosine of his own on the flames when he dubbed Lucic a “Piece of ____” during his post-game interview. The debate over the merits of the hit has raged on ever since it’s occurrence and will likely continue on for as long as Miller is sidelined. However, tonight the battle shifts to Western New York as the Bruins take their 9-game winning streak into Buffalo’s First Niagara Center.
In what is being built up a lot like a certain game that took place back on March 18, 2010, many believe that the Sabres will be looking to exact some revenge against the Bruins. The game I speak of was of course the “Matt Cooke Revenge Game” between the Bruins and Penguins at the TD Garden. It was a mere eleven days prior that gutless Penguins’ winger Matt Cooke took an elbow to the blindside of B’s top-line pivot Marc Savard and knocked him out indefinitely with a severe concussion. Unfortunately, what we saw on March 18 was not what fans in Boston were hoping to see. A mere two minutes into the game, B’s enforcer Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Cooke to the delight of the TD Garden crowd. However, after the fight, both sided remained cool-headed and the Penguins routed the Bruins 3-0.
Tonight it will be interesting to see exactly how Buffalo handles this situation. Will they take the “eye for an eye” approach and try to run Tim Thomas? Will they attempt to injure one of Boston’s top forwards like Tyler Seguin or Patrice Bergeron? Will they simply send someone out to drop the gloves with Lucic?
At this point, it’s hard to imagine Buffalo being able to do much damage to Boston by physical means, purely based on their personnel (or lack there of). Apart from the injury-saddled Cody McCormick, the Sabres don’t employ any other players who can match the brute strength of Milan Lucic. Yes, Paul Gaustad has been known to drop ‘em when necessary, but would he really be much of a challenge for an Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell or Shawn Thornton? Something tells me that answer is no.
While many Boston fans will likely disagree with me here, If I were Buffalo, my approach would be to focus solely on winning the game. Yes, it does not look good for their image to have not responded to the injuring of their star netminder but they need to realize that ship has sailed. The best way for the Sabres to exact revenge on the Bruins would be to end Boston’s nine-game winning streak.
What will it be Buffalo?
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.