Expect a physical Game 4

BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup playoffs are always exciting and the game intensifies this time of year. Every game is a battle and fans can expect just that in Game 4 between the Bruins and the Sabres tonight at the TD Garden.

The Bruins have momentum and lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, and the Sabres would like to return to Buffalo with it tied. Boston has been winning the physical battles in the last two games, which has resulted in a pair of victories for the Bruins.

The Sabres have been shorthanded due to injuries to key players, including Thomas Vanek, Jochen Hecht and Matt Ellis, so the team recalled tough guy Cody McCormick from the Portland Pirates of the AHL.

It’s clear Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is tired of getting pushed around.

“Part of the concern is we’ve lost some players, some big bodies,” said Ruff. “If you look at our left side, we’re going to take [Drew Stafford] and put him over on the left. It will give us a bigger option over there. We’re fast enough and quick enough, but some of the battles have gone their way. I thought the first game it went our way, then we had a neutral game. Obviously the battle on the last goal [in Game 3] was something that we would like to have back.”

The goal Ruff is referring to is when Bruins veteran Mark Recchi pushed the Sabres’ Tim Kennedy off the puck behind the Buffalo net before Recchi gained control and quickly fed Patrice Bergeron in the slot for the game-winner.

The Bruins are extremely confident right now and the Sabres would like to change that mindset with a victory tonight.

“We had a real good meeting last night and a short, quick meeting this morning about how we need to play and we’re a very focused group,” said Ruff.

The Garden was rocking during Game 3 on Monday and the Bruins players acknowledged after the 2-1 victory how great the atmosphere was to play in.

“It’s going to be a close game,” said Recchi. “It’s going to be a hard-fought game. Each team will be trying to get their space and trying to create some energy and opportunities. We expect nothing different and it’s been that way all year against them.”