In what became a very schizophrenic season, the Sabres enter their final game with little to play for. The Bruins enter today’s game with a first-round series against Ottawa waiting around the corner. Boston rested a number of players this past week, but I’d expect Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas all to play this afternoon as a tune-up for the playoffs.
This will be a strange game as the Bruins will be just trying to avoid injuries and the Sabres will likely be just going through the motions. Jhonas Enroth will be the starter for the Sabres while Thomas will go for Boston. If Claude Julien is really playing it safe, Anton Khudobin or Marty Turco will start, but I would guess he wants his stud to get one more game under his belt. The only reason Turco would play, it could be his last game of his career.
Given that today will be a glorified exhibition game, I’ll just list a few bullet points to check out during the game.
- Jochen Hecht isn’t expected to play, but this will be the final game you get to see Brad Boyes in a Sabres uniform. Boyes is a pretty unfortunate case. He lit it up his first few weeks on the job before tailing off last season. He has been nearly invisible this year and has been somewhat under-utilized, in my opinion. Either way, his acquisition was wise but didn’t pan out. That will be $4M towards another player come July 1.
- Hecht may not be back in Buffalo either, unfortunately he won’t have a chance to play today. Matt Ellis could also be in the boat heading away from Buffalo as well.
- Derek Roy and Drew Stafford were hot trade topics in January. Stafford has turned things around but could still be out the door, the same goes for Roy. They both have had solid runs to end the year, maybe that helps their trade value.
- Thomas Vanek has historically been a final game superstar. Hopefully he can tally once or twice just to boost his numbers.
- The goal of the day should be to get Jason Pominville to 30 goals. He is on the cusp and deserves to hit that milestone.
- I’d venture a guess that the minutes will be spread evenly this afternoon. Cody McCormick, Matt Ellis and others will get a healthy does of ice time.
- Jhonas Enroth could really use a win. He hasn’t necessarily fared well against the Bruins in his career, but it would be good to send him off with a victory, especially considering the way he has played since November.
- So many people are calling for Lindy Ruff’s head. I doubt very much that this will be his final game in Buffalo. I will analyze exactly where he may be headed, but Ted Black’s previous statements make me think the players will be gone before Ruff or Darcy Regier. Those clamoring for his removal, don’t hold your breath.
- Counted among those to get healthy ice time, T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb. Both will be heading back to Rochester to offer reinforcements. They will be counted on for big contributions, giving them a full go this afternoon would be good for the players and the Amerks.
- One last piece of advice. Just enjoy this game for what it is, hockey. So many bandwagon fans are saying how much the team sucks and how they knew this would happen. Just shut up and enjoy the game. There were too many flaws on the roster for this to be a legitimate contender. Should they be a playoff team? Probably. But they aren’t, so root for them to win and start mulling over their offseason moves.