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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 19th (All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (23-9-2) at Buffalo Sabres (8-23-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to win consecutive games for the first time in over a month when they host the first-place Boston Bruins in the opener of a home-and-home series at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres last won back-to-back outings on Nov. 12 and 15, but a victory tonight would give Buffalo its first two-game winning streak since Ted Nolan took over head coaching duties from the fired Ron Rolston.
Nolan, who is in his second stint behind the Buffalo bench, won his first game of 2013-14 on Nov. 15, three days after Rolston coached his last contest with the Sabres in a shootout victory over Los Angeles. Overall, things have only improved slightly for the Sabres since the coaching switch, with Buffalo going 4-8-2 under Nolan after starting the year 4-15-1.
The Sabres are 2-1-1 over their last four games, however, and are coming off Tuesday's home win against Winnipeg. Matt Moulson notched a third-period goal to give Buffalo the lead en route to a 4-2 win over the visiting Jets.
Marcus Foligno and Matt Ellis also scored in the third to complete the comeback. Steve Ott lit the lamp in the second to help the Sabres snap a two- game skid, while Ryan Miller turned aside 25 shots in the victory.
The Jets grabbed a 2-0 lead on a pair of quick goals from Mark Scheifele early in the second period, but Buffalo was able to keep Winnipeg from scoring the rest of the way.
"It's a real big step for this hockey club," Ellis said of the win.
Buffalo, which will visit the Bruins on Saturday, improved to 5-12-2 as the host after Tuesday's victory.
The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division with 48 points -- 29 more than last- place Buffalo -- and enter this evening's clash having won five of their last six games, including Tuesday's shutout victory over visiting Calgary.
Boston beat the Flames 2-0 as Tuukka Rask posted 21 saves for his third shutout of the season. Zdeno Chara scored both goals with Jarome Iginla and David Krejci each posting two assists for the Bruins, who were coming off a 3-1-0 road trip when they notched a sixth straight home victory.
"I'm just trying to work hard and be there for loose pucks and create traffic and finding some openings. So really the main thing is to just work extremely hard," said Chara after his two-goal night.
The Bruins are just 9-6-0 on the road this season compared to a stellar 14-3-2 mark at TD Garden. However, Boston did win in Buffalo earlier this season, recording a 5-2 triumph on Oct. 23, as Milan Lucic and Torey Krug each scored twice. Chad Johnson needed to make only 14 saves in the win for Boston, while Miller stopped 29 shots in a losing effort.
Boston has won five of the last eight meetings against the Sabres overall, and the Bruins have taken two straight and three of the past four encounters at First Niagara Center.
12/19 11:15:44 ET