Ference: No upsets in playoffs

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET

BUFFALO -- In Andrew Ference's book, there's no longer such a thing as an NHL playoff upset.

Commenting on three higher-seeded teams losing on Wednesday, as Ference’s underdog Bruins prepared to take on the Sabres Thursday, Ference said the perceived giant-killing on opening night was a bit deceiving.

“I’ve said for awhile, our sport has to be the worst one to bet on,” said Ference, who will make it back in Boston’s lineup after nine games with a sports hernia, “just because there are no favourites and it’s not as cut and dry as other sports. This sport is beyond the age of upsets now.

“Any team that has the ability to make the playoffs, it’s well deserved. It’s been like that for years and now it seems it just gets more evenly matched.”

Buffalo finished higher in the standings, but Boston won a closely fought season’s series 4-2 (every game decided by two goals or less) and Tuukka Rask had a better save percentage than Buffalo’s star stopper Ryan Miller, albeit in less games. But injuries to the Bruins’ defence, namely Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart, combined with Marc Savard’s absence up front and a general dearth of offence, has the Sabres in the driver’s seat. Then there’s the huge advantage in playoff experience Miller holds on Rask.

“Hey, who cares, really,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “If they think it’s an advantage, that's good for them. We feel very confident in Tuukka and we feel very confident in the guy that’s with him (Tim Thomas). We feel we have a good 1-2 punch and that’s comfortable enough.”

The Bruins finished strong, despite their medical mishaps.

“In the last three years we've responded well to injuries -- we're getting pretty good at it, I guess,” Ference said. “When injuries happen, guys get increased workloads. It doesn't work out well sometimes. (But) through a lot of adversity, the team stuck together very well. We’re feeling good about ourselves, feeling tight, feeling that we’ve been tested a lot more than last year. Used the right way, (adversity) can really benefit you.”

The Sabres, meanwhile, found out the past day that Jochen Hecht's finger injury needed an operation, which was performed late Wednesday and will keep him out for weeks. They’re already missing winger Drew Stafford with a concussion.


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