It’s unknown which goaltender will be in net for the Boston Bruins on Monday when they travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres.
With top two goalies Tim Thomas (groin pull) and Manny Fernandez (herniated disc) both sidelined with injuries, it will be either rookie Tuukka Rask or recently acquired Alex Auld in net for the Bruins (15-10-3).
Auld made his debut for the Bruins on Saturday, turning aside 25 shots in a 2-1 victory at Toronto as Boston avoided a three-game losing streak.
“Everyone has been so welcoming,” Auld said. “I didn’t know many guys on this team but everyone has made me feel right at home, and that’s great.”
The 20-year-old Rask lost his last start, a 4-2 defeat to Montreal on Thursday, but the Bruins are 8-4-1 in their last 13 games.
Regardless of who has been providing the netminding, Boston has exceeded expectations by allowing just 2.6 goals per game to help overcome an offense that has scored a Northeast Division-low 73 goals.
Chuck Kobasew, who leads the Bruins with 12 goals, extended the team’s streak with at least one power-play goal to six games with a first-period tally. Top-line center Marc Savard, though, had his 12-game points streak snapped in Saturday’s victory.
While the Bruins are dealing with issues at goaltender, the Sabres (13-13-1) are having issues with consistency. In Buffalo’s last four games, the Sabres have outscored opponents 15-2 in two wins and outscored 12-3 in two losses.
After losing to Los Angeles 8-2 on Thursday, Buffalo (13-13-1) rebounded with a 7-1 win at San Jose on Saturday. Paul Gaustad had two goals to lead the rout, highlighted by a four-goal second period.
“We wanted to set the tempo tonight and we stuck to it all night,” Gaustad said. “We were playing individual hockey against L.A. It was a combined effort tonight.”
Prior to that, the Sabres had lost to Anaheim 4-1 on Wednesday and ripped Carolina 8-1 on Dec. 1. In the two wins, they outshot opponents 59-43 and went 4 of 6 on the power play; in the losses, they were outshot 66-40 and failed to convert on eight chances with the man advantage.
“It feels nice to do what we did and bounce back the way we did,” center Derek Roy said. “… We’re going to move forward from this and get better.”
Overall, the Sabres are 7-3-0 in their last 10 after a disappointing 6-10-1 start for the team that won the 2007 Presidents’ Trophy last season.
Boston and Buffalo played each other three times in 10 days in early November, splitting a pair of overtime games before the Bruins won the last game 2-1 in regulation on Nov. 10 as Thomas had 45 saves.