By John Vogl
The records clearly tell which team is favored to win tonight -- Buffalo is 1-8-1 while visiting Boston is 5-2, including 3-0 on the road -- but Ron Rolston's words illustrated the teams' differences even more.
"They’re one of the best teams in the league," the Sabres' coach said today after the morning skate. "They’re physical. They’re detailed. They don’t beat themselves. They play the same way from the first minute to the last minute and just try to wear you down. They have a lot of good hockey players. They’re very deep, good on defense, big on defense, end plays, good in transition, very good in the offensive zone.
"I can keep going. I'm out of time here. It's a good start."
The Sabres, of course, are focusing on getting a good start after being blown off the ice during first periods so far.
"We definitely need some things to get us some confidence," co-captain Steve Ott said in First Niagara Center.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the second of the Sabres' two first-round picks this year, will play his second NHL game. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder had three hits in 11:01 during his debut.
"It’s his second game in the league at 18 years old," Rolston said. "Matchup-wise, he’s got size, he’s physical. He’s a guy that can clear people out in front. It’ll be another real good challenge for him to see where he’s at.
"He can be physical, but he has to make sure he’s putting himself in good position all the time and not giving up a lot."
Ryan Miller will start in goal against a club that has reached the Stanley Cup finals during two of the last three seasons.
"You want to be part of those teams," said Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who noted he went to back-to-back conference finals with Buffalo. "You come into the locker room and know everything is going to be all right."