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6-8-1

Bruins-Sabres Preview

AP - Sports

The Boston Bruins have already taken advantage of the slumping Buffalo Sabres on the road this week.

Another visit could keep the Bruins rolling away from home.

Boston looks to make it five straight road wins Friday night when it faces the Sabres for the third time this season.

The Bruins (8-1-2) won 3-1 at Buffalo (5-8-1) on Sunday, getting third-period goals from Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic. However, they failed to build on that at home two days later, falling 4-3 in a shootout to the New York Rangers after scoring the final three goals in the third period to salvage a point.

Boston has been getting plenty on the road, winning four in a row there since a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers on Jan. 23.

The team will try to continue that success during this five-game trip, which includes visits to Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Florida and Long Island after facing the Sabres.

"It's not going to be an easy road trip for all the obvious reasons," coach Claude Julien said. "Buffalo is certainly going to want to bounce back from their loss to us less than a week ago. Winnipeg; we have yet to win a game in that rink yet. Certainly a good challenge for us."

The venue hasn't mattered much for Brad Marchand, who leads the Bruins with seven goals with three coming in four road games, including one at Buffalo earlier this week before tallying again versus the Rangers.

Of the center's eight goals in 15 career meetings with the Sabres, half have come in seven visits to First Niagara Center. Marchand also has four goals in the last three overall matchups.

Tuukka Rask may get a chance to redeem himself against the Sabres. He's 0-2-1 with a 3.62 goals-against average and was pulled twice in his last four starts at Buffalo. He wasn't very good at home on Jan. 31, either.

In his worst performance of the season, Rask stopped 25 of 31 shots in a 7-4 loss. He's been impressive in three games since, however, going 2-0-1 with a 1.31 GAA and a shutout.

Backup Anton Khudobin had 25 saves against the Sabres on Sunday.

Buffalo is 3-8-1 since opening the season with back-to-back wins and seemingly showing promise after missing the playoffs last season.

They fell 2-0 at Ottawa on Tuesday following Sunday's defeat to the Bruins.

Coach Lindy Ruff is trying to remain positive in the face of mounting criticism directed toward him.

"It's on me to clean up this mess," said Ruff, who is in his 15th season at the helm. "And I'm not done trying. The team will feed off my energy. We talked about getting the team in the right mood. And that's up to me.

"We'll find it. It'll come. I'm confident it'll come."

Thomas Vanek continues to be one of the few bright spots, leading the NHL with 11 goals and 23 points. He was kept off the scoresheet the last two games, and only managed one shot on goal versus Boston.

The left wing was much better in last month's meeting, tying his career high with five points while beating Rask for a hat trick. His 28 goals and 54 points in 46 meetings with Boston are his highest totals against any opponent.

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