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Bruins, Sabres both trying to find footing

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The Buffalo Sabres are starting to find their game again. Now they’ll be looking to put it together consistently and get back on track when they host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Buffalo is coming off back-to-back losses, falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 on Monday and by a 5-4 score against the New York Rangers on Sunday.

After playing tight and hesitant in the third period of their last-second loss to the Rangers, the Sabres played their attacking style against the Blue Jackets but were done in by a lapse early in the second period in which they allowed three goals in the first four minutes — including two in the first minute.

It was their third straight loss and ninth in their past 11 games.

“I know we have a good group of guys in the room that believe in themselves, that believe in each other,” center Tage Thompson said. “We’re all working towards the same goal. Obviously, we’ve got a young team. It’s not an excuse but it’s just experience. It’s going to take some time.

“I think we’ve got the guys in the room to do it. Like I said, it just comes down to consistency. We know we’re capable of doing it but we’ve got to piece it together for a full 60 minutes.”

Thompson, who was shifted to center at the start of the season, leads the Sabres with eight goals on the season, tying his career high set last season in 38 games.

“I think Tage has reached a spot where he’s exciting to watch and he can keep you on the edge of your seat because he’s capable right now,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “But as far as the potential, I don’t think we’re seeing anything close to what he’s going to become.”

The Bruins are looking to bounce back after being shut out 4-0 by the Calgary Flames on Sunday, ending Boston’s three-game winning streak during which they scored five goals in each win.

“I think we have an identity, but we’re still working on it to be that team every single night,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Some of that is turnover. Don’t forget, we brought in three guys at the deadline last year that you’re just putting in your lineup and, ‘Let’s go, get ready for the playoffs.’ Now we’re doing a little more teaching.”

The line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continues to deliver for the Bruins. Marchand leads the way with eight goals, 12 assists and 20 points, followed by Pastrnak with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) and Bergeron with 13 (six goals, seven assists).

Depth scoring hasn’t been what it once was. While Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall have five and four goals, respectively, Jake DeBrusk remains stalled at three, Craig Smith has one goal, and Nick Foligno has yet to score. But Cassidy isn’t going to dismantle his top line just yet.

“We’re trying to build some chemistry on other lines,” Cassidy said. “So now you’re taking away from the one constant to fix something else. Let’s get every line to where we need to be and then we can start moving them around to see if it balances us better. That’s always been my thought process.”

–Field Level Media

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