Despite being division rivals dating back to the days of the old Adams Division, the Sabres-Bruins rivalry has become one of the NHL's best in only the recent past. The Bruins have been the far more successful team of late, winning one Stanley Cup in 2011 and falling just short in 2013.
Still, there's no shortage of history and bad blood between these two teams, giving every game a playoff atmosphere.
Like all good rivalries, this one was built in the postseason. There's nothing like beating each other up for four to seven games to stir the pot.
The Sabres and Bruins have met in the playoffs on eight different occasions, with the Bruins taking six of them. In the first five matchups in 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989 and 1992, the B's took it to the Sabres.
Finally, in 1993, Buffalo broke through. They swept the Bruins in four games in the opening round, capped off by this famous goal by Brad May and call by Rick Jeanneret.
In 1999, the Sabres and Bruins met in the Eastern Conference semifinals with Buffalo winning in six games en route to the Stanley Cup final.
The most recent matchup came in 2010, as the Bruins defeated the favored Sabres in six games in the opening round.
One of my personal favorite moments—though I was not alive to see it—was this awesome display of old-style hockey by Jim Schoenfeld of the Sabres.
With all of that history, you'd think there would be enough animosity right there. However, things have only gotten more heated in the past few years.
On Nov. 12, 2011, Milan Lucic barreled into Ryan Miller when both players were racing for the puck outside of the crease. Miller later left the game with a concussion and went on to miss an extended period of time. You can see the entire play in the video below.
Ryan Miller had some choice words that he shared with John Vogl of the Buffalo News after the game:
I'm not really going to get into that. [I] just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of [feces] I think Lucic is. Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that? It's unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he plays. That was gutless. Gutless. Piece of [feces].
Since then, things have hardly been cheerful. With guys like Lucic, Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand for the Bruins and Patrick Kaleta and John Scott in Buffalo, there's no shortage of ammunition when it comes to the fisticuffs.
Most recently in 2013, Brad Marchand and the Bruins took offense to a timeout called by the Sabres in the dwindling seconds of a 7-4 Sabres win. That led to some more nasty comments to the media, which are becoming all the more common in this rivalry.
The Bruins lead the all-time series with a record 147-137-29. That's an awfully close battle considering that the teams have been playing each since 1970.
Right now, the Sabres are entering a rebuilding phase, while the Bruins are looking to add another Cup to their resumé. While some games may end up being lopsided in favor of the B's, every minute of these games is must-see hockey.