BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 31: Jochen Hecht #55 of the Buffalo Sabres looks to shoot in front of Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins on March 31, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Bruins host Sabres days after tragedy

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Tonight the Boston Bruins will host the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden. The game will be on NBCSN and can be watched online.

It’s impossible to pretend that this is just another game and in equal measure, it is hard to judge a sporting event as important for Boston just days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

All the same, when the Bruins and Sabres play tonight, they will be trying to bring some joy to a wounded city by doing what they know best.

“In some sense, you feel a bit helpless as far as what you can do after the fact as far as action,” Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference told the Boston Globe. “We’ll do our job and make sure we’re there when people need us and think of anything possible we can do to help.”

“That is why we play: To entertain and bring joy to people’s lives,” Patrice Bergeron added in a CSN New England report.

Bergeron hasn’t played since April 2, but he is very likely to return on Wednesday.

The Bruins will be facing a Sabres team that needs every point they can get. Buffalo got some help on Tuesday when the Philadelphia Flyers beat the eighth place New York Rangers. However, the Sabres are still four points out of a playoff spot with just five games left in their schedule to the Rangers’ six.

Boston can secure its playoff spot by getting at least one point in this contest. They are also in a battle with Montreal for the Northeast Division title.

That’s not what’s on their minds though.

“We represent the city of Boston and we want to make sure we represent them well,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien on Tuesday. He later added, “We don’t expect tomorrow to be the day that everything’s going to be okay. But you’ve got to start somewhere and tomorrow’s a great time for us to go out there and play our hearts out for all the right reasons.”

Probable goaltenders: BOS – Tuukka Rask (17-8-4, 1.99 GAA, .929 SV%) | BUF – Ryan Miller (14-17-5, 2.84 GAA, .913 SV%)

Top scorers: BOS – Brad Marchand (16-17-33, 38 GP) | BUF – Thomas Vanek (16-18-34, 33 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Boston – Forwards: Bergeron (concussion – probable), Marchand (concussion), Marc Savard (concussion)
Buffalo – Forwards: Ville Leino (upper body) Defensemen: Tyler Myers (leg), Alexander Sulzer (lower body)

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then:

Sending a message: Flames scratch Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma

Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Johnny Gaudreau during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau figure to be a big part of the Calgary Flames’ forward group, both in the present and the future.

That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.

After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wow.

It’s amusing timing, too, as the Maple Leafs will roll with a bit of a skeleton crew of their own after that splashy Dion Phaneuf trade.

Some background

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was there for the practice, which was unusually short at 25 minutes.

“He wasn’t happy with the way we were practicing,” David Jones told Spector. “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.

“I think he was pretty pissed off about the way things were looking.”

Call it a combination of poor execution and maybe a tardy arrival … perhaps from a Super Bowl party or two?