For the Bruins, it would be hard to imagine things going more smoothly.
Boston will likely have the red-hot Tim Thomas(notes) back in net Wednesday night as it renews its rivalry with the Sabres, who will be without reigning Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller(notes) as they try again for their first home win.
Miller’s 41-win season in 2009-10 sparked Buffalo’s first division title since 2007, but he was outplayed by rookie Tuukka Rask(notes) as Boston ousted the Sabres in six games in the first round of the playoffs.
Rask, however, has already been displaced as the starter for Boston (6-2-0) by Thomas, who won the Vezina in 2008-09. Thomas has matched a franchise record with six straight wins to begin the season, with no opponent scoring more than one goal against him.
He has stopped 182 of 185 shots while compiling a 0.50 goals-against average - easily an NHL best.
“It’s pretty special I think,” coach Claude Julien said. “It’s just a matter of riding it, it’s as simple as that. You’ve got to hopefully see a goaltender keep doing that for you as long as he can.”
While Thomas has lost five consecutive starts against Buffalo, he made 29 saves to post his third shutout of the season and second in a row in a 4-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday night.
“The effort in front of me was great,” Thomas said. “Our ‘D’ is doing an incredible job blocking shots when needed, clearing rebounds when needed. They’re making life easy for me right now.”
Very little was easy for the Sabres (3-7-2) during a difficult October. Defenseman Tyler Myers(notes) - the Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie last season - posted a minus-10 rating that is second worst in the NHL.
Buffalo lost the final three games of a four-game road trip to close the month, falling 4-0 at Dallas on Saturday.
“There’s not a damn thing we can do about that. That’s behind us,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “There’s not one person that’s happy about it, including myself. I find it embarrassing, and we’ve moved on.”
Buffalo hopes to get a boost from the return of Jason Pominville(notes) after the first-line winger missed the last nine games due to a concussion. Pominville tied for the team lead with four points during this spring’s playoff series against Boston.
While the Sabres are 0-4-1 at HSBC Arena, Boston is looking to stay perfect on the road. The Bruins are 3-0-0 in road games, not including splitting a pair of contests with Phoenix in Prague to open the season.