Veteran Mark Recchi is happy to be playing for a team like the Bruins that has come roaring out of the gates to a 6-2-0 start. But he also knows what it's like to get off to a slow start, just as the Bruins did last season before they finally got it together down the stretch and into the playoffs. That's why he doesn't believe the Sabres, whom the Bruins knocked out in the postseason, are necessarily looking at their game against Boston on Wednesday as a "revenge" game so to speak.
"Honestly, I think they're more concerned with what's going on now," Recchi said of the Sabres, who are off to a 3-7-2 start. "They're struggling right now and they're looking for any spark to get them going and climb out of whatever they're going through. They see a divisional rival coming in, a team that's playing good, and they probably are looking at this as a chance to springboard themselves. And who better to do it against than a rival like us."
Both teams will bring lessons learned from the Bruins' six-game win over the Sabres in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals into Wednesday's game at Buffalo.
"It was a lot of games that were really tight one- or two-goal games, with great defense and goaltending and just grinding it out type hockey, and that's how it is every time we play these guys," Recchi said. "It really came down to who wanted it at the end and I think at the time, we were coming together as a team at the perfect time and that helped push us through. They had been on top all season, but we had been through so much through the course of the season that we wanted to keep going. We were finally a team and just playing with so much chemistry."
The Bruins are playing with a similar chemistry and style now, but they know that each game against the Sabres is a battle no matter where the teams sit in the standings.
"We always have some tough games against them," coach Claude Julien said of the Sabres. "There's a certain style that they play against ours that makes them close games. It's gone back and forth. I think a couple of years ago when we had success, we really struggled against them. Last year when they were having success, we got the better of them. It's been one of those things where it goes back and forth.
"They have a great goaltender and when they're healthy, when they're on the attack they're really dangerous. They collapse and smother you in their D zone. So it's never an easy game against them."