Sabres-Bruins Preview

After a dreadful start, the Boston Bruins are happy to have

climbed back to .500.

Although on a much smaller scale, the Buffalo Sabres have also

put their own difficult stretch behind them.

Both teams will be seeking a fifth straight victory Saturday

night when the Northeast Division rivals meet at TD Garden.

Boston (7-7-0) has rebounded in a big way after a slow start.

Following a three-game losing streak in which the team was

outscored 10-5, the Bruins have won four in a row by a combined

24-8 score, including a 6-3 win over Edmonton on Thursday to get

back to .500 for the first time since they were 1-1-0.

They are still tied with Montreal for the fewest points in the

division, but the improved play gives reason for optimism. Two of

the victories during the winning streak have come against Northeast

rivals.

“We’ve started to build that confidence. We are playing better

as a five-man unit and supporting each other all over the ice,”

said Milan Lucic, who has goals in a career-high five straight

games. “We’ve learned a lot from the things we have gone through in

the past and we don’t get down anymore.”

Lucic isn’t the only player performing better. Brad Marchand,

who scored twice Thursday, has a four-game point streak, while

Tyler Seguin has five goals in the last three games and a five-game

point streak.

The Bruins will try to pick up another two points against a

division rival Saturday. However, the Sabres (10-5-0) have been

just as hot, rolling to a 5-1 victory over Ottawa on Friday for

their fourth consecutive win.

Derek Roy had a goal and two assists while Jhonas Enroth, making

his third start in four games, made 36 saves. Roy has four goals in

the last three games, extending his point streak to four games.

“We played a lot smarter game than we have in our last three or

four,” said coach Lindy Ruff, whose team had lost four of five

before the winning streak. “Maybe as well played a night

defensively by our six guys back there … a consistent

effort.”

With his team playing on back-to-back nights, Ryan Miller could

find himself back in net Saturday. Miller’s inconsistent season

continued against Winnipeg on Tuesday, when he gave up five goals

on 31 shots before holding on in a 6-5 overtime win.

Miller, who was pulled less than 7 minutes into a 3-2 loss

against Philadelphia on Nov. 2, was 0-4-0 with a 3.91 GAA in his

previous four starts before beating the Jets.

“I have to remind myself that things aren’t going to be perfect

all the time and things aren’t going to go my way all the time,”

Miller said. “I just have to battle through it.”

While it will be a tough task to slow the surging Bruins, Miller

has won his last four starts against them with a 3.15 GAA. The last

two victories have come in Boston, where he’s allowed five

goals.

Thanks in part to Miller’s play in net, the Sabres went 4-1-1

against the Bruins last season. Drew Stafford, who had a career

high-tying three assists Friday, scored a team-high seven goals in

the 2010-11 season series.