goalie Ryan Miller
didn't practice with the team Monday morning and won't play Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning
Miller, however, did skate on his own in full equipment for about 30 minutes and remained hopeful about his chances to play later this week.
Miller's workout Monday consisted of drills to work on his positioning and lateral movements. Sidelined since last Tuesday with an upper-body injury the Sabres have provided no additional detail on whether the reigning Vezina Trophy winner planned on testing himself further during Tuesday's morning skate.
"It's just good to get back, feel the ice a little bit and graduate from there and see what they say after pratice tomorrow," Miller said. "We're at that time of year where we don't want to deal in specifics [on injuries], but it's something that didn't allow me to give the team the best chance to win and it's something I had to make sure I was good health-wise. And now we're in a position where we are day-to-day and today was a good step forward. I really believe that it shouldn't be something that's going to linger too long and it's something I can get back and play shortly."
Buffalo picked up five of a possible six points this past week with rookie Jhonas Enroth
in net, blanking the New York Rangers
on Wednesday, losing to Washington in overtime Saturday and picking up a crucial OT win Sunday in Carolina.
The Sabres are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with 90 points, one more than the eighth-place Rangers and three ahead of the ninth-place Hurricanes. Miller would like to get back not only to help make sure Buffalo qualifies for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but so he's game-ready for them.
"That's always ideal, but every game is the playoffs right now," Miller said. "So whenever we can get approved to get back in and help the club, I want to be there and I'll be ready to go."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff
wasn't concerned about the possibility of not getting Miller back before the end of the regular season.
"Not right now. I think he's going to have a real good week of practice and that will start tomorrow and there won't be any effects at all, I don't believe," Ruff said.
Enroth was named Monday as the NHL's Third Star of the Week, going 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in three starts. Enroth made 23 saves for his first career shutout in the 1-0 win against the Rangers.
"He's a good young goaltender and he's handled things really well," Miller said. "He's kept himself really calm and within his game. I think a lot of times you see a young guy step in, he tries to do more than he needs to do and it can open things up. It's a tendency I had when I was a little younger. But he's really calm and together and keeps himself within the play."
Ruff, who said it was safe to assume Enroth will start against the Lightning, concurred with Miller.
"He's got a great mentality," Ruff said. "There's not a lot that bothers him. He's one of those real low-key type of goaltenders that keeps everything under control."