Sabres vs. Bruins Preview

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Boston, Massachusetts (AP) - Boston's offense has run hot and cold the last few weeks, but it hasn't needed to be too consistent with the way Tim Thomas has been playing in net.

Thomas, however, could face an equally hot counterpart Tuesday night when Ryan Miller, who has posted consecutive shutouts, and the Buffalo Sabres visit the Bruins.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Bruins -140 money line NHL odds favorites for Tuesday's game against the Sabres. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 81% of more than 571 bets for this game have been placed on the Bruins -140.

Boston (14-8-3) failed in a bid to win its third straight game Saturday, losing 3-2 in a shootout at Toronto. The Bruins were outshot 40-27 by the Maple Leafs, managing only five shots in the first period.

"Slow start? I don't think we showed up much," coach Claude Julien told the Bruins' official website. "I mean, the second period was a little better, but again, we had an opportunity to make the most out of the situation and they gave up some opportunities and we didn't take advantage of it."

Goals from Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell weren't enough to prevent Boston from dropping to 3-3-2 in its last eight games. The Bruins have scored fewer than three goals in half of those contests, putting extra pressure on Thomas, who had 38 saves Saturday but fell to 13-2-2.

"Timmy was able to bail us out when we broke down several times and allowed us, at least to gain a point," Julien said.

Thomas, who leads the league with a 1.46 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage, likely will be up against another hot goaltender in Miller, who after a slow start appears to be rounding into last season's Vezina Trophy-winning form.

Miller has made 51 saves in recording back-to-back shutouts, lowering his season GAA to 2.26. He's 3-1-0 with a 0.98 GAA in four starts since missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Miller had to be particularly sharp in a 1-0 shootout win over Ottawa on Saturday. Thomas Vanek scored the only goal in the tiebreaker.

Buffalo (11-13-3) has won three of its last four games and will be trying to win three in a row for the first time this season.

"I think it's a case of the whole team playing better," Miller told the Sabres' official website. "Everybody is starting to approach a place where we're on the same page, so I really think that goaltending is an absolute team position."

Miller has played very well against Boston, going 16-5-6 with a 2.53 GAA, including 4-0-2 with a 1.80 GAA in the last six.

Thomas, meanwhile, was in net for a 5-2 win over Buffalo on Nov. 3, which snapped a personal five-game losing streak against the Sabres.

"He's a battler, and there's no way you're gonna see him sit back and just wait to play," Miller said of his Boston counterpart. "He's gonna push, he's gonna push hard. I'm happy to see he's healthy because he's a great guy and if he wasn't in my division I'd cheer for him a little harder."

Thomas and the Bruins play three straight and six of their next eight games at home, where they are 3-1-1 in their last five.

Boston is 5-2-0 in its last seven games against Buffalo, winning the most recent matchup at TD Garden 3-1 on April 8.
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