Final stretch of the season begins as the Bruins battle Buffalo.


Feb 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) reacts after scoring a goal during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins are ready to get back to business tonight as they pick up where they left off before the Olympic break. They will be taking on the Buffalo Sabres in the First Niagra Center, and the Bruins will be looking to maintain their seven point lead over all other teams in the Atlantic Division. Players who didn’t go to Sochi are certainly ready to get back in action. Bruins forward (and pest extraordinaire) Brad Marchand talked after today’s practice about how the team was going into the Olympic season and how they’ll be ready for tonight.

“We had all four lines going, all six D and both goalies playing well. We were just feeding off each other,” said Marchand (who is currently leading all players with nineteen goals). “When we had a good shift another line would follow it up. That’s what we need. We need to build it up shift-by-shift, and if we have a bad one then we need to follow it up with a good one. Everybody was buying into the system and playing their role. That’s what you need if you want to be good in the playoffs. We want to continue playing that way down the stretch.”

Barring total disaster, the Bruins will lock up a playoff slot and continue the success they’ve had since hiring Claude Julien as head coach. Coach Julien came back from Team Canada’s gold medal run excited and ready to tackle the last few dozen games with relish and desire. He’s ready to get the Bruins into their seventh straight playoff berth under his tenure and he also shared his thoughts with the media.

“If anything, to be honest with you, the competition was so good and refreshing that I’ve come back here energized. I’m not tired. I’m ready to go, and I’m looking forward to getting back with my team and getting into games. Whether it’s different three or four from now, maybe I’ll let you know. Right now I feel no effects. If anything the excitement over there [in Sochi] really energized me coming back, and I’m looking to accomplish the same thing with this Bruins team.”

The Sabres (well, mostly Ryan Miller) beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 yesterday at home. We’ll find out what they’ve got left in the tank tonight. The puck drops at 7:30, and will be covered by NESN. If you can’t watch it local, grab the Boston Bruins mobile app and follow along anywhere.