(SportsNetwork.com) - With a matchup looming against one of the current top teams in the NHL, the Boston Bruins will try to avoid looking past the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night as the two Atlantic Division rivals square off in Western New York.
Boston is set to play on back-to-back nights for the first time this season as it returns home following this road contest to host the 8-0-1 San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
First, the Bruins visit a Sabres team that is just 1-8-1 on the season but did win three of five over Boston last season. One of those victories came in overtime and Buffalo has claimed five of its past eight at home in this series.
The Bruins conclude a three-game road trip with this game having already won contests over Florida and Tampa Bay. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in Saturday's 5-0 victory over the Lightning.
Rask, who has started all seven of Boston's games this season, notched his 17th career shutout as the Bruins won for the fifth time in seven games.
Five different skaters scored in Saturday's win: David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton.
"I think everyone showed up from the drop of the puck tonight and it showed on the scoreboard," said Bergeron. "We kept pushing the whole game and wound up with a good result."
Rask is 4-5-1 with a 2.71 goals against average in 12 career meetings with the Sabres, but head coach Claude Julien could opt to give back Chad Johnson the start tonight and save a fresh Rask for the Sharks.
Johnson made four starts with Phoenix a season ago and has never faced Buffalo.
The Sabres have lost two straight since beating the New York Islanders on Oct. 15 for their first win of the season. They were bested 4-2 by the Colorado Avalanche last time out on Saturday.
Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno scored for Buffalo, which has been outscored 13-1 in the first period this season after yielding a pair of goals to the Avs in the first 20 minutes.
"I think we came on strong later and started playing with the puck more," said Hodgson. "We know we can play, but we just have to stop getting behind the eight-ball so early."
Ryan Miller allowed all four goals on 26 shots. He is 25-8-7 with a 2.51 GAA in 40 lifetime starts versus the Bruins.
The Sabres gave 18-year-old defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the 16th overall pick of the most recent draft, his NHL debut on Saturday. Zadorov became the fourth teenager to play for Buffalo this season, joining 19-year-olds Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons as well as 18-year-old Rasmus Ristolainen.