New arrivals could boost Bruins against Sabres

NHL Hockey

New faces might be able to help the Boston Bruins rebound from their worst loss of the season as they host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

In the wake of an 8-1 domination from the Washington Capitals on Sunday, the Bruins made a pair of trades. One involved acquiring 2018 MVP winger Taylor Hall, as well as injured center Curtis Lazar (lower body), from the Sabres in exchange for winger Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round pick. The other saw Boston add defenseman Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators for a 2022 third-round pick.

The Hall deal was made official prior to Monday’s trade deadline, but whether he is ready to play against his now former team Tuesday remains to be seen. The 29-year-old has already expressed interest in remaining in Boston beyond the conclusion of the one-year, $8 million contract he signed with Buffalo last offseason.

“I’d love to be a Bruin for a few years,” Hall said. “It’s obviously been a bad year for me personally, and I need to play well. I need to contribute. Most of all, I want to be part of a team that wins games. I really believe we can do that here.”

Hall has just two goals and 17 assists this season, far below his 2017-18 pace when he finished with 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) on his way to winning the Hart Trophy. Hall’s shot percentage is at 2.3 percent this year, well below his 10.0 percent career average, so it stands to reason the former No. 1 overall pick never felt comfortable offensively with the Sabres.

Reilly is also an impact addition as the Bruins played Sunday without four of their top six defensemen. Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller were each sidelined by injury, as were goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.

Reilly, 27, had 19 assists in 40 games this season with Ottawa.

Rask and McAvoy might be able to play Tuesday after skating Sunday, and Grzelcyk is day-to-day. All three players are dealing with upper-body injuries. Carlo and Millar are expected out longer term, while Halak’s return date from COVID-19 is a question mark.

Boston has lost six of its last 11 games (5-4-2).

The Sabres, meanwhile, enter off a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Despite the victory, Buffalo still has the worst record in the league and could be poised for further action ahead of the trade deadline. The team shipped defenseman Brandon Montour to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

The Sabres have won four of their last seven games (4-2-1) since an 18-game losing streak as they continue to get comfortable under interim head coach Don Granato.

“We’re just starting to realize how we need to play,” said Kyle Okposo after earning an assist Sunday. “And everybody is getting on the same page in the new system Don wants us to play.”

–Field Level Media

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