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Myers back for Sabres

by Kurt Dusterberg
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Buffalo Sabres will have a key piece back in the lineup tonight when they face the Carolina Hurricanes.

Defenseman Tyler Myers returns after missing 19 games with a broken wrist, suffered Nov. 19 against Phoenix.

Because Myers was able to skate during his absence, his conditioning should not be a major factor in his ability to log important minutes -- he's second on the team with an average ice time of 21:39 per game.

"We're hoping he can lead our (defense) in ice time tonight," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. "We're not going to hold back. The goal is to get him right back in the groove and play him plus-20 minutes."

Myers had just 6 points through 19 games at the time of the injury, and had been a healthy scratch in November for the first time in his career. The 21-year-old defenseman said he's focused on physical play as a key part of making his return successful.

"I think a lot of it is the mental side of the game," Myers said. "When I play physical, it gets me into the game more. It's hard to specify, but now that I've figured out that it does happen, I need to do it every night."

Here's how the rest of the Sabres' lineup -- as well as the Hurricanes' -- could look tonight:

Thomas Vanek - Jochen Hecht - Jason Pominville
Nathan Gerbe - Derek Roy - Drew Stafford
Zack Kassian - Luke Adam - Brad Boyes
Matt Ellis - Paul Gaustad - Patrick Kaleta

Tyler Myers - Brayden McNabb
Robyn Regehr - Jordan Leopold
Mike Weber - Marc-Andre Gragnani

Ryan Miller will start in net, with Jhonas Enroth the backup.

Jussi Jokinen - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman - Brandon Sutter - Chad LaRose
Jiri Tlusty - Tim Brent - Alexei Ponikarovsky
Andreas Nodl - Brent Sutter - Anthony Stewart

Tim Gleason - Jamie McBain
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jaroslav Spacek - Bryan Allen

Cam Ward will start in goal, with Justin Peters the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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