Since the lockout, Buffalo has had one of the most potent offenses in the NHL. (Then) young gunners Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville comprised a group that skated fast and scored faster.
Now, the core group (including Tim Connolly, Jochen Hecht and others) is older, more experienced, and possesses a synergy few offenses in the league can match.
The Sabres have scored 231 goals this year, good for 10th in the league. Buffalo's scoring is balanced, however; 122 goals at home and 109 on the road.
Leading the charge this season was Derek Roy. Lighting the lamp 26 times and adding 43 assists through 80 games, Roy emerged as one of Buffalo's best playmakers. His passing is crisp and accurate, his wrist shot is subtle but deadly.
Tim Connolly kept his head up for most of the season, avoiding another concussion. However, he did miss the end of the regular season, leaving Buffalo fans wondering if he'll be good to go for the postseason. The Syracuse, N.Y., native is Buffalo's power play quarterback, setting up plays and making I-can't-believe-he-just-made-that-pass passes. Through 73 games, Connolly dished out 48 helpers and scored 17 goals—seven on the power play.
Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht both played up to their potential this season. Hecht, who is currently a question mark for the playoffs, put up 42 points with a +14 (someone put that guy on the ice!).
Pominville, whose fabled population went stagnant last year, came in this season and proved the naysayers wrong. "Pommer" played in all 82 games, scored 24 goals, added 38 assists and finished a +13. The Justin Timberlake look-a-like always goes into the postseason on a roll, and Buffalo will need him to continue the streak.
Thomas Vanek. Ah, what can we say? Big-time contract mixed with a 40-goal season in 2008-09?
Lindy Ruff pushed the "Vanek" button just at the right time. Vanek comes into the postseason on a two-game, five-goal streak, pushing his season total to a team-high 28. He has been a disappointment this season, but Sabres fans everywhere will forget his regular season mediocrity if he brings the Stanley Cup to Buffalo.
As for the rest, the Sabres have a tight group. Youngster Tyler Ennis has made a case to stay in a Sabres uniform through the postseason, as has Nathan Gerbe.
Bruiser Pat Kaleta will need to keep the hits coming fast and hard, because his physicality on the ice can change the momentum of a game.
Mike Grier and Paul Gaustad are gritty, hard-working bodies that win puck battles.
Boston comes into this postseason with the lowest-scoring offense in the league.
The Bruins have scored just 196 goals this year. To put it in perspective, Alex Ovechkin and the high-flying Capitals have lit the lamp 313 times.
Boston has scored 99 goals at home and 97 on the road, so they do have somewhat balanced scoring.
The boys of Beantown have just one 20-goal scorer in Marco Sturm, whose 37 points rank sixth on the team.
Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci sit atop the roster at 52 points apiece. Bergeron, who played in 73 games, scored 19 goals—four of which were game winners.
Losing Marc Savard to a season-ending concussion didn't help the Bruins' offensive campaign. But even before Savard was hurt, he only had 10 goals and 23 assists through 41 games.
The Bruins couldn't have wound up with a worse opponent. With Ryan Miller in net and Boston unable to muster any type of strong offense, this series could be over quickly.
THE EDGE: BUFFALO