The Sabres may face Rick Nash against the Bruins

The Boston Bruins acquired Nash from the New York Rangers on Sunday

Paul Hamilton
February 25, 2018 - 10:50 am

Photo: Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Right after the Bruins played in Toronto Saturday night, they made the trip down the QEW for today’s 5:00 game against the Sabres.

Patrice Bergeron left the arena on Saturday in a walking boot, but there’s a good chance that the man the Bruins just traded for this morning will be in.

Rick Nash is on his way and will be available to play against the Sabres.

In 60 games this season, Nash has 18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points. Over his career he’s averaged 34 goals over 82 games. That’s in six seasons with the Rangers and nine in Columbus.

It’s the playoffs where Nash sometimes comes up small. In 77 playoff games, Nash has 15 goals and 41 points. Over 82 games, that comes out to 16 goals over 82 games and 44 points.

If you missed the trade, Boston got Nash and was able to get 50 percent of Matt Beleskey’s contract off their books. The Bruins got really stupid on July 1 of 2015 signing him to a 5 year/$19 million contract. That mistake goes through the 2019-2020 season.

Boston also gave up a first round pick in this year’s draft, as well as their second round pick in 2016, defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren is a teammate of Casey Mittelstadt at the University of Minnesota. He’s 20-years-old.

New York got a 7th round pick in the 2019 draft. Ryan Spooner will also become a New York Ranger. The 26-year-old has nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in 39 games this season.

With Boston losing half of Beleskey’s salary, that may still leave room to sign Brian Gionta.

With Nash off the market, that may help set the bar for what Jason Botterill can get for Evander Kane. Botterill pulled Kane from the lineup on Saturday in Washington and I would expect the same for today against Boston.

The Bruins get Nash at a time where they’re in third place in the Atlantic Division, one point in back of Toronto and five behind Tampa Bay.

After the Sabres beat the Lightning on Feb. 13, Boston was in first place in the NHL. They’ve won four-of-six since then and their point percentage of .695 has them third behind Vegas and Tampa Bay.

Boston is fourth in the National Hockey League in goals with 3.24 goals per game. They are far and away the best defensive team at 2.44 goals against.

The Bruins can thank Tuukka Rask for the defensive record. Rask is 24-10-4 with a 2.17 goals against and .922 save percentage. Rask gave up four in Toronto on Saturday and has lost three of his last five starts.

Boston fans have to hope Bergeron’s injury is not too serious. He is their best player in both ends of the ice. He has 27 goals and 25 assists for 52 points in 53 games.

Brad Marchand has 22 goals and 33 assists for 55 points in 45 games.

The Sabres have lost four-of-five games and five-of-seven. Buffalo has just 10 goals in five games, but that’s to be expected when Jack Eichel is injured. In those five games they have just one power play goal and again, that can be traced back to the Eichel injury. The Sabres just don't have any depth at all that can help pick up the slack. 

Jason Pominville had a really rough time defensively against the Caps as speed made him look bad twice. At the other end, Pominville hasn’t scored in 19 games. He had six goals in his first 12 games this season and has had three in his last 50.

Jacob Josefson hasn’t scored in 17 games.

Jordan Nolan has scored in one of his 51 games.

Kyle Okposo has one goal in 13 games.

Johan Larsson hasn’t scored in 11 games and has one goal in 19.  

Zemgus Girgensons hasn’t scored in eight games.

Benoit Pouliot hasn’t scored in six games, but played well in place of Kane on Saturday.

Evan Rodrigues has one goal in eight games and Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t scored in five games.

If Phil Housley stays true to form, Chad Johnson will get the call against the Bruins. Johnson beat his old team in Boston stopping 25-of-27 shots. Johnson has won two of his last three starts and three of his last five.

Join Brian Koziol for the pregame show at 4:00 when he’ll has Phil Housley as well as a few player interviews.

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