The Boston Bruins (29-14-6, 64 pts) and the Buffalo Sabres (13-31-7, 33 pts) will conclude their 2021 regular-season series today at TD Garden (1 PM ET, NESN, NHN, SN).
If the Boston Bruins beat the Sabres today they will finish the season series against the worst team in the NHL at 7-1-0 and if the New York Islanders (30-15-5, 65 pts) lose to the New York Rangers (26-19-6, 58 pts), the Bruins will leapfrog the Isles for third place in the East Division. That has a better chance of happening if David Krejci can continue his torrid pace after another brilliant performance and maybe another highlight-reel play similar to his assist on a Taylor Hall goal in the 5-2 win over the Sabres Thursday night.
“He’s re-energized in terms of attacking,” Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game Thursday. “That was an all-world play tonight, obviously, beating guys one-on-one. But he’s moving his feet and going north a little more. He’s got a guy on his left wing who can bomb down the wing, a guy on his right wing that can skate. I’d say the biggest thing is his pace. He’s playing with a little more pace. His wingers are maybe forcing him to do that. He’s making plays, obviously, and finishing plays while he’s doing it.”
Since the Boston Bruins acquired Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Sabres, Krejci has been en fuego! The just-turned 35-year-old (April 28), veteran center has five goals and four assists since being put in the middle of Hall and Craig Smith on April 13. The depth scoring that the trio has provided has been pivotal in the Bruins going 8-2-0 in their last ten games.
Rookie Jeremy Swayman will be back between the pipes for the Boston Bruins today. Swayman is 5-2-0 with a 1.56 GAA and a .946 save percentage.
-As mentioned above, Hall scored another goal and has now lit the lamp five times and has three assists in ten games.
-Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. DeBrusk will replace Trent Frederic in the lineup today.
-Jaro Halak will backup Jeremy Swayman.
-The Boston Bruins are 5-0-0 in their last five home games and 15-6-3 in the friendly confines of TD garden this season.
–The Bruins’ powerplay went 1-for-2 on Tuesday. They are now 30-for-142 on the man advantage this season. They’re 14th in the NHL with a 21.1% success rate.
-The PK killed off both of the Sabres’ powerplays on Thursday. They’re second in the NHL with an 86.2% success rate. They’ve killed off 144 of 167 powerplay attempts against them this season.
-Boston Bruins winger Chris Wagner missed practice Friday, and per Cassidy will not play today. Wagner’s injury was not disclosed. Karson Kuhlman will slot in for Wagner.
-Defenseman Brandon Carlo skated in a full-contact jersey at practice for a second straight day. Cassidy told the media after that Carlo won’t play today and they’re still aiming for a potential Carlo return Monday or Tuesday in Newark, NJ against the New Jersey Devils.
-Fellow rearguard John Moore is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery. Forward Ondrej Kase is still listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury but has been skating.
-Since being traded from the Boston Bruins to the Sabres on April 11, Anders Bjork has a goal and three assists in ten games with his new team.
-We told you here prior to the game Thursday just how hot Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt had been lately and boom! Mittelstadt lit the lamp Thursday night and now has ten goals and five assists in his last 17 games.
-After making 35 saves on 39 shots Thursday, it appears that Sabres rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will get the nod against the B’s again tonight. Luukkonen is 1-2-0 with a 3.74 GAA and .908 save percentage.
-The Sabres powerplay is ranked 15th in the NHL with a 20.9 % success rate. They’re 29-for-142 on the man advantage.
-The Sabres penalty kill has a 77.7 % success rate and is ranked 23rd in the NHL. They’ve killed off 101 of 129 powerplay attempts against.
-Sabres captain and Chelmsford, MA native Jack Eichel (neck), 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 week-to-week with lower-body injuries. Forward Cody Eakin (personal) is day-to-day.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk – Trent Frederic – Karson Kuhlman
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Kevan Miller
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton
Buffalo Sabres Lines
Jeff Skinner – Sam Reinhart – Victor Olofsson
Rasmus Asplund – Casey Mittelstadt – Arttu Ruotsalainen
Anders Bjork – Dylan Cozens – Drake Calligua
Tobias Reider-Riley Sheahan – Tage Thompson
Mattias Samuelsson- Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin-Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – William Borgen