Today marks the first of potentially two of the Sabres’ biggest games this year. The Sabres take on the Boston Bruins tonight at home and then Saturday head to Boston for an afternoon game on New Year’s Eve.
So why are two games in the middle of the season potentially the most important for the young Buffalo squad? Well if the team and the fans want to make a playoff push this season, these two games could play a major role in whether they achieve that goal or not. Currently the Bruins sit six points ahead of the Sabres, yet Buffalo has three games in hand. If Buffalo can take four points from Boston they would be just two points behind the third spot in the Atlantic division with a game in hand on the B’s.
The Sabres are coming off a hot game offensively with more than seven Sabres registering a point and Eichel, Reinhart, and Kane x2 all finding the back of the net.
Evander Kane, Sam Reinhart, and Rasmus Ristolainen all look to continue their hot streaks and need to do so with the absence of Ryan O’Reilly from the lineup.
Cody Franson will make his return to the lineup today with Kulikov coming out with an injury. The big Russian has struggled recently and dealing with a lower back injury all year it’s not surprising. Coach Bylsma says that Kulikov’s return to the lineup is “hopeful” for the New Year’s Eve bout with the Bruins.
Tyler Ennis also returned to the ice this morning wearing a red contact jersey. He is expected to be back within the next 7 days according to Bylsma.
If the Sabres are serious about wanting to make the playoffs this is the time to prove it. They will have their hands full with good goaltending and a skilled Bruins team but will look to capture the two points at home.