UPDATE – Prior to the finale of their three-game set in Buffalo against the Sabres, the Boston Bruins announced that center Patrice Bergeron will not play tonight.
UPDATE: Patrice Bergeron (lower body) will not play in tonight's game.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 23, 2021
Bergeron took a shot off his foot in the first period of the Bruins’ 5-1 win Thursday night in Buffalo. He returned to finish the game and earn an assist on 21 shifts and 14:52 TOI.
Will it be lucky seven for the Boston Bruins (27-12-6, 60 points) Friday night in Buffalo?
The Bruins will look to extend their win streak to seven games as they play the third game of a three-game set against the Buffalo Sabres (12-28-7, 31 pts) and the tail end of a back-to-back.
The Boston Bruins have been able to string together their longest win streak of the season by not taking their foot off the pedal in-game as much as they had in the past, especially against lesser teams like the Sabres.
“Not a lot of poor stretches, I think that shows in our goals against,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following his team’s impressive 5-1 win that saw the Bruins score four straight unanswered goals after the Sabres had tied the game at one early in the second period. “We don’t have these lulls where you have pockets of poor puck management shift after shift. I think we’ve eliminated large pockets of those and been able to keep our game going in a straight line, north-south, for the full 60 minutes.”
In the rare moments lately where the Boston Bruins have had breakdowns, the goaltending of Tuukka Rask and Jeremy Swayman has shut the door on their opponents.
“And then our goaltending has put out the fires, right? We don’t give up much,” Cassidy said. “You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. They’ve made some big-time stops – haven’t been asked to make a volume of stops, but quality ones when we’ve needed them. They’ve made that stop to sort of get us back in the game, now get back to playing our way. I think that’s been two or three things that we’ve done well.”
Speaking of Rask, he will be back between the pipes for his fourth start since returning from an upper-body injury last week. Rask has won three straight starts and is now 11-4-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .916 save percentage. Rask made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 Bruins win on Tuesday.
-Defenseman Kevan Miller will return the lineup after missing five games with cellulitis from an infection in his foot.
-Fellow rearguard Brandon Carlo and forward Ondrej Kase remained home recovering from upper-body injuries and are still listed as week-to-week.
-This is the sixth of eight games against the Sabres for the Boston Bruins. They play their longtime rivals April 29 and May 1 in Boston to finish the season series. After going 3-0-0 against the Sabres last season, the Bruins are now 4-0-0 against their normal Atlantic Division and old Adams Division rivals. They’re also 10-0-0 in their last ten games against the Sabres.
–The Bruins’ powerplay went 0-for-2 on Thursday. They are now 29-for-138 on the man advantage this season. They’re 11th in the NHL with a 21.3% success rate.
-The PK killed off all five of the Sabres’ powerplays on Thursday. They remain the best in the NHL with an 86.3% success rate. They’ve killed off 136 of 158 powerplay attempts against them this season.
-Sabres captain and Chelmsford, MA native Jack Eichel is set to have neck surgery and is out for the season. Sabres left winger Zemgus Girgensons is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. Forward Kyle Okposo recently suffered a facial injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Between the pipes, Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark are day-to-day with lower-body injuries.
-Sabres rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will make his NHL debut tonight against the Bruins.
-The Sabres powerplay is ranked 15th in the NHL with a 20.3 % success rate. They’re 24-for-123 on the man advantage.
-The Sabres penalty kill has a 79 % success rate and is ranked 19th in the NHL. They’ve killed off 96 of 121 powerplay attempts against.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Curtis Lazar – Jake DeBrusk
Anton Blidh – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Kevan Miller
Jeremy Lauzon – Steven Kampfer
Buffalo Sabres Lines
Jeff Skinner – Sam Reinhart – Victor Olofsson
Rasmus Asplund – Casey Mittelstadt – Tage Thompson
Anders Bjork – Dylan Cozens – Arttu Ruotsalainen
Tobias Reider-Riley Sheahan-Drake Calligua
Mattias Samuelsson- Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin-Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – William Borgen