Dec 21, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Steve Ott (9) and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) battle in front of the goal during the third period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins Should Easily Defeat the Lowly Buffalo Sabres

Bruins Clearly Better Than Sabres

Following a fairly successful player representation at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the Boston Bruins will finally get back to NHL game action tomorrow night. The B’s will face off against the ailing Buffalo Sabres, who are currently the Eastern Conference’s last place team with 38 points overall.

It’s logical for one to think that the Bruins will easily rollover the Sabres, posting 3 or more goals in a routine shutout. The Bruins absolutely dominated the Ottowa Senators right before the Olympics break in a 7-2 rout. Chad Johnson, Boston’s backup goalie, made an strong appearance vs. the Sens after a great performance against the Edmonton Oilers a week earlier.

This match against the Sabres will actually feature Johnson as the starter over Tuukka Rask, as the reserve netminder looks to continue his personal win streak.With Johnson minding the goal, there isn’t really that much of a noticeable drop off between him and Rask playing. If the B’s are comfortable between the pipes, too, it’s hard to see Buffalo winning this game.

Really, the Bruins are just too aggressive along the boards and far more consistent offensively than the Sabres consistently ineffective forward group. Cody Hodgson is leading the squad in points with a meager 30 tally. That’s the same number as Carl Soderberg, the B’s third-line winger/center who’s actually played in two games less than Hodgson.

Tyler Ennis hasn’t captured spectacular play either. He has been healthy for most of the year but still hasn’t managed to break 30 points this season. In 2010, when the Bruins played the Sabres in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Ennis stood out to me due to his youth, energy, and quickness around the puck. However, he hasn’t taken his game to the next level.

In general, you can’t really single out certain Sabres players and say that they are  responsible for such a rough season. Sure, Ennis hasn’t been hugely impressive and the 6’8”  Tyler Myers hasn’t blossomed into the dominant player role quite yet. Turnovers and sloppy skating have been a major issues on this team. Roughly 80% of the former Broad Street Bullies maintain terrible plus-minus ratios.

Consequently, it appears that the Bruins will lose this game only if they beat themselves. They would have to skate horribly and basically give up possession on purpose, forcing overly confident cross ice passes this way and that.

Patrice Bergeron just won the gold; Loui Eriksson seized the silver, and Rask plucked the bronze, so this contest would probably serve as the assumed time for a uninspired, lazy effort. Claude Julien will definitely be wary of this possibility, so in the end, Black and Gold fans should absolutely expect their hometown favorites to win this game.

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Tags: Boston Bruins Claude Julien Tyler Ennis

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