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It's Backup vs. Backup tonight in Boston

BOSTON -- On the second half of a back-to-back, the Sabres took the morning off in Beantown. Coach Ted Nolan will thus hold his pregame media briefing in the 5 p.m. range at TD Garden.

Nolan is expected to make official what he pretty much admitted Monday -- Backup Matt Hackett will be in goal tonight, just over 11 months after suffering a gruesome injury on the same rink against the Bruins. You can read Hackett's thoughts in my Sabres notebook in today's editions. Here's a clip of the injury:

It's likely to be backup vs. backup too. The Bruins skated this morning and they are going with Niklas Svedberg in goal tonight rather than Tuukka Rask, who is ostensibly being saved for Thursday night's showdown in Ottawa.

Svedberg is 7-5 with a 2.43 GAA and .918 save percentage and has won his last three starts. He also beat Buffalo twice in October in First Niagara Center, including a 4-0 win on October 18 that saw him stop all 32 Sabres shots.

The Sabres are 0-5-2 in their last seven games but continue to be very competitive. They were in a scoreless tie with 13 minutes to go Saturday against the New York Rangers before suffering a 2-0 loss and squeezed out a point in a 4-3 shootout defeat Monday against Washington.

The Bruins are 3-0 against Buffalo this year, with the Sabres getting an overtime point here on Dec. 21 in the game that saw them lose both Brian Gionta and Marcus Foligno after an iffy hit by Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski. If Boston wins tonight, it will sweep a season series from Buffalo for the first time since the Sabres entered the NHL in 1970; the Sabres are the only team Boston has never swept.

In the McEichel Standings, the Sabres are five points behind both Edmonton and Arizona but hold a game in hand after the Oilers scored all their goals in the first period to post a 4-1 win over Toronto and the Coyotes suffered a 1-0 loss at Los Angeles.

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