It’s be a nightmare for the fan base of the Buffalo Sabres. They have gone 1-8-1, and reside in the basement of the Atlantic Division. The organization has openly contemplated trading its captains, and have already committed themselves to seeing this season as one of the worst in their franchise’s history. One does have to feel for Ryan Miller, the Sabres goalie who does all he can to keep his team competitive.
While Miller gets next to no help, the Bruins goaltenders have a much better support system. Tuukka Rask has had three very good weeks for Boston. With the Sabres so deep in decline, the Bruins could likely sit out Rask and allow Bruins’ back up goaltender Chad Johnson sit in the crease tonight. “Buffalo might be one of the games we give him,” Julien said after practice on Monday. “We haven’t made that final decision yet but I will put him on notice and give him probably an opportunity. We’re going to have to use him at some point and that might be a good chance for us to use him then.”
Putting Johnson in is a necessity on multiple levels. First, the Bruins gave up on an opportunity to keep Niklas Svedberg in Boston. The Bruins need to put Johnson on the ice in order to validate that decision. Secondly, we can’t expect Tuukka Rask to live in the crease all season. Finally, of all teams to test out a relatively green goaltender on, it might as well be the Sabres.
Coach Claude Julien understands that even though Buffalo is struggling every night, it by no means doesn’t make the Sabres dangerous.
“I think Buffalo is a game that we can’t let get away from us. We have to come out hard. In this league, the thing that’s most dangerous is when you take things for granted and we can’t,” said Julien. “This is a team that is very capable of scoring goals when you look at some of the guys that they have. They’re also a team that has a good goaltender. If he’s on his game – and we know the case for us when we ran into hot goaltenders – I think all the reasons to be good and ready is there for us.”
The puck drops at 8:05 tonight in the First Niagara Center.