BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins are focusing more on a divisional win Wednesday night rather than what the Buffalo Sabres might do for payback.
The last time the two teams met, Milan Lucic barreled into Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who was out the crease, while going after a loose puck.
Miller was not happy with Lucic, and took a swing at the B’s forward. He chirped after the game, calling Lucic some choice words, and his distain only got louder after the NHL did not hand down any punishment.
Miller has not played since the November 12 matchup, sidelined with a concussion.
His teammates did nothing during that game to retaliate, so the Bruins know they have to keep an eye out for any funny business on the First Niagara Center ice Wednesday night. But their focus will be on winning their 10th straight, and picking up two more points.
“A lot of times it’s been built up to the point where there’s a big-time disappointment, because nothing happens,” said head coach Claude Julien on Tuesday. “It’s about coming in here and focusing on winning a game. We’re on a pretty good roll right now, why would we want to change our ways and fall into that situation where you’re only going to hurt your team more than you help it.”
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“I think it’s definitely going to be a hard-fought game and I think we can talk about whatever happened the last game, but there’s more at stake than just getting revenge,” Lucic said. “What we’re focused on more than anything is to just keep the streak rolling and to secure first place in the division. That’s our main focus.”
Lucic anticipates getting an invite to “dance” Wednesday night, but there isn’t much he can do about it.
“Obviously they addressed that they weren’t happy with how they responded and they were talking about that for a couple of days. I said what I said and going back, my answer is not going to change,” he said. “With the hit, I was barreling down on the puck and my main focus was the puck, a collision ensued and unfortunately Miller got hurt on the play. There’s not much more that needs to be said about it.”
But the team does not see it as a huge problem.
“If they want to get goofy then that’s fine. Our team is well equipped for different kinds of games,” defense Andrew Ference said earlier this week. “I know that it was a controversial hit and obviously they were upset about it and you always want some kind of retribution. [Lucic] is fully prepared to answer anybody that wants to get involved. But if not, then we just play. I don’t think that we’re the determining factor in how that game goes down.”
“I think our team has been able to handle teams that have tried to push us around,” said Julien. “That’s not even something we’re going to lose sleep over. I think it’s a matter of us focusing on the game we need to play and put all our energy into that.”
“We’re going to be ready for our game and how we have to play,” team President Cam Neely told 98.5 The Sport Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Tuesday. “We always say have teams react to us, we don’t want to react to other teams. I know this is going to be talked a lot about; I’m sure it started today in Buffalo and will continue tomorrow. It’s really about how we play our game and how they react to us.”
And if the Sabres make a run at either Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask, count on the Bruins to take care of the situation.
“If somebody does something stupid, you make sure you back your goalie up. But Shanahan will also get involved if it gets goofy. So you protect him and you do your job up until you’re allowed to and after that, it’s up to the big boys,” said Ference.
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