Bruins coach Claude Julien talked down any reference to their bad blood with the Buffalo Sabres as speculation, but actions usually speak louder than words. The Bs coach has inserted AHL tough guy Lane MacDermid into the lineup as a fourth-line winger along with Shawn Thornton, and scuffling left wing Chris Bourque will take a seat as a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
But Julien wasnt going to opine on why the Sabres opted to sign 6-foot-8, 260-pound enforcer John Scott and trade for noted agitator Steve Ott in the offseason a couple of clear signs that Buffalo was looking to toughen up against their divisional foes in Boston. Thats been the case since Milan Lucic trucked Ryan Miller at the beginning of last year, and set off a bitter rivalry between the Bs and Sabres that lasted throughout the regular season.
I have no problem with anything. Its Buffalos choice to build a team any way they want, said Julien. Speculation is speculation as far as Im concerned, and thats all it is until something happens. Weve played our style of game forever and we dont plan on changing that. Theres nothing, as far as Im concerned, to be worried about.
The Bruins coach was pressed and asked if there's any carryover from the LucicMiller fracas last season, even after Paul Gaustad addressed the situation by dropping the gloves with Boston's power forward in Buffalo last year.
"You're asking the wrong coach," said Julien, with a nod that any extra aggression would be coming from Buffalo's end.
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice for the Bruins at morning skate and hell get the start against Buffalo as the Sabres are expected to counter with Ryan Miller between the pipes. Here are the expected lines and pairings tonight with Adam McQuaid also returning to the lineup: