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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

Nathan Gerbe spent three years honing his craft at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., just a short 20-minute drive from the TD Garden in downtown Boston. Tonight he’ll reach an NHL milestone when he plays in his 100th career game against the Boston Bruins, as the Sabres look to extend their winning streak to five games.

It’s a unique opportunity for Gerbe to play this milestone game in a city that still means so much to him.
“It’s always nice to come back to this town, a lot of good memories here,” said Gerbe, who played at Boston College from 2005-08. “It’s something I try not to focus on, but it’s still pretty cool and I need to treat it like a normal game.”

Gerbe was Hobey Baker finalist in 2008 for Boston College when he led the nation in scoring with 68 points (35+33) in 43 games, and was named Most Outstanding Player in the Frozen Four that season as BC defeated Notre Dame in the championship game.

After a slow start last year with one goal and six assists in his first 24 games, Gerbe finished the season with 15 goals and nine assists over his last 40 games. This year he already has nine points (3+6) in 15 games, giving him 46 points in 99 career games. Gerbe credits his success in the NHL to finally being able to find a comfort level with his game.

“Even last year when the offense wasn’t there, I thought I was playing well, moving well and creating chances. That’s the thing for me; I need to use my legs to create chances on the ice. That’s been a key for me this season, and I need to focus a little more on putting pucks in the net.”

Patrick Kaleta will return to the Sabres lineup tonight after serving a four-game suspension for a head-butt delivered to Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek on November 2. Kaleta will be the first to admit that his aggressive style of play is what makes him tick, but he realizes that he has to watch himself on the ice now as a repeat offender in the eyes of NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.

“You learn from your mistakes,” said Kaleta today following the team’s optional morning skate in Boston. “It’s like I’ve been saying for the past little while, it’s about changing my game and I’ve been working pretty hard at it since the beginning of summer. It’s a little bump in the road, but I can’t let it bother me.”

Lindy Ruff declined to discuss the team’s goaltending situation after today’s skate. However both goalies were among the 10 players that participated in the optional skate, and Miller was the first of the two goaltenders to leave the ice. This is normally the indicator of who will be starting the game that night.

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