BY: DAVID KOLB
BUFFALO SABRES (13-14-8) @ BOSTON BRUINS (19-15-4)
TRYING TO AVOID A SWEEP
The Sabres will end 2016 this afternoon in Beantown and look to avoid back-to-back defeats against the Bruins. Boston came from behind Thursday to beat Buffalo, 4-2, and will attempt to sweep the season series after winning the first three contests between the teams earlier this year. The Bruins are 10-1-2 in their last 13 games against Buffalo and are 5-1-2 in their last eight matchups in Boston.
NOT HOME SWEET HOME?
Despite being one of the top three teams in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have underperformed when they’ve been at home. Boston is just 8-9-0 on home ice this season.
OKPOSO BIG VS. BRUINS
Kyle Okposo scored one of the two Sabres goals Thursday and has five goals and 23 points in 26 career games against the Bruins. Okposo, who scored for the first time since Dec. 9, has recorded 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points, including 13 power-play points.
BACKES, CARRIER OUT
Bruins forward David Backes will miss today’s game after he suffered a hit to the head from Sabres forward William Carrier in Thursday’s contest.
Backes left the game, did not return and will not skate in today’s matinee (upper body injury). Carrier, who will not be suspended from the NHL for the hit, won’t play as well after hurting his hand from an ensuing fight with Bruins tough guy Adam McQuaid.
Sam Reinhart extended his point streak to five games after notching an assist Thursday vs. Boston. Reinhart has two goals and four assists during this streak and has eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 35 contests this season.