Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins Preview 10-30

The Sabres hope to get their first home win of the season Thursday Night

The Sabres hope to get their first home win of the season Thursday Night

First Niagara Center-October 30th, 2014 – 7:00pm

Buffalo Sabres (2-8-0) vs Boston Bruins (5-6-0)

The hobbled Boston Bruins enter town as a new era of sorts begins tonight in downtown Buffalo. October 30th, 2014 will live in history as the brand new, much hyped and anticipated HARBORCENTER opened earlier today.  The impact that the HARBORCENTER will have on the downtown Buffalo and the WNY region will be unheralded but still unlikely to improve Buffalo’s struggling hockey club.

The Sabres will look to start a miniature new era of their own tonight after a dreadful first ten games.  After a brutal Tuesday night in Toronto where Buffalo was held to ten shots, a franchise record, Ted Nolan spoke about how his grace period is officially over.

“I always give our team a 10 game grace period, you give them a little bit of rope and maybe some will hang themselves and what we saw in the last 10 games, we saw that so, taking it easy is over now, we’ve got to work and I’ll take full responsibility for that, maybe I didn’t push them hard enough.”

Nolan knows he must do something different.  As a pronounced motivator, he has failed to get a significant effort out of his players consistently through the first part of the season.  Although projected to be among the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference, the severe lack of offensive production coupled with marginal effort is unacceptable by any professional standards.  If it continues throughout the season, even the staunch Nolan supporters will struggle to defend him. 

Ted Nolan signed a three year contract to coach the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason.

Ted Nolan signed a three year contract to coach the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason.

Coming off of what I believe to be one of the more embarrassing losses in franchise history, there will be pressure to rebound tonight against a Boston team that has not exactly excelled to begin the year.  A season ago, Boston finished up the month of October at an 8-4 clip while this season they have struggled at times and will hope to finish out the month at .500 with a win tonight.  The Bruins blueline has been infected with the injury bug early this year as both Zdeno Chara (knee) and Torey Krug (broken finger) are expected to be out for multiple weeks. Krug broke a finger in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota Tuesday night as the Wild scored three unanswered goals in the 3rd period to top the Bruins.  They also traded the consistent Jonny Boychuk to the Islanders before the season. 

 Boston’s depleted D-corps and an inexperienced goaltender in Niklas Svedberg (5 NHL Games Played) could provide a much needed boost for the Sabres offense.  Although inexperienced, Svedburg has been solid to date as he boasts a .951 Sv% and he may still be a familiar face to First Niagara Center faithful as he shut out the Sabres less than two weeks ago on 32 shots. 

Tonight will be the 9th game of the season for 2nd overall pick Sam Reinhart.  After tonight, Tim Murray will decide whether or not to send him back to Juniors.  My observations tell me tonight is the last time we see Reinhart in Buffalo until next September.  Although he has gradually improved with each game, Reinhart still needs to become much stronger to excel at the NHL level.  Contrary to what many will believe, I expect the Sabres to match or beat Boston shot totals tonight.  New Era!