Boston Bruins: Rested And Ready

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The Boston Bruins once again find themselves in a position to take first place in the Atlantic Division tonight. With a win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins will march past the Montreal Canadiens to be the top team in the Atlantic and third overall in the East.  Just a month ago, the Bruins were just squeaking into playoff contention. Now, they’re one of the hotter teams in hockey. They’ve gone from being a dark horse with half a prayer to being serious contenders again.

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If only the same thing could be said about their opponents.  The Sabres haven’t been a .500 team since their win over the Florida Panthers six weeks ago. Even though Buffalo is nearly at the bottom at the division (with a one point lead over last place Toront0) and the conference, no one on the Black and Gold are willing to take two points for granted. The Sabres have played better than their record, and have suffered very few blowouts so far this season.

“They have elite players, and every team has them,” said Bruins forward Landon Ferraro. “You have to be ready to play against them, whether it’s your line that’s matched up, or you end up out against them for a shift or two. You just have to play your game, but at the same time, you’ve got to recognize who’s on the ice and make sure that you try and take as much space away as you can.”

“We all got some rest, and it’s always a little different when you come back and you’re right into a game on your first day back,” continued Ferraro, who has a good run going since being picked up on waivers from the Red Wings. “But you still have to make sure you get your feet moving early and keep it simple, and just try and get back into it as quick as you can.”

The Bruins have taken the Christmas break to rest, recharge, and spend time with their families. This morning though, they were all business. They’ve put their 2-0 setback against the St. Louis Blues behind them, and they’re ready to do what’s needed to win.

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  • “I think for us tonight,” said Bruins forward Ryan Spooner (who finally seems to be out of Claude Julien‘s doghouse). “It’s just going to be getting pucks to the net and getting in front of the goalie’s eyes and see if that works.”

    That goalie will be former Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson. Johnson spent a season with the Bruins two years ago, as the Black and Gold claimed the President’s Trophy. Johnson knows the Bruins system, and he knows what he’ll be facing tonight.

    “[Claude] Julien knows how to give the team a system to play, and even if things aren’t going well, somehow,” offered Johnson, who has won six out of his last thirteen starts. “They still find a way to win. They’re always in hockey games, and they’re experienced with the guys that are there that have won. So for myself, it was definitely an experience to be able to be around that — an atmosphere where even if you’re not playing well as a group, you’re still coming out of there winning games, and guys are upset because you didn’t play well, even if you still won hockey games.

    “It came down to good team defense and just working together and realizing what it takes to win hockey games, and that’s something I’ll always keep with me.”

    If Johnson kept his inability to handle big rebounds and wraparound chances, then the Bruins should do pretty well when the puck drops at 7:05 tonight.