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by Scott Miner / Buffalo Sabres
A struggling Buffalo team caps off their sixth back-to-back series of the season when they take on the Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Sabres are 1-4-1 in their past six games and have scored just 13 goals. Injuries continue to plague the blue and gold, and a 4-1 loss last night to the Detroit Red Wings has left a sour taste in the mouths of the Sabres. Forward Thomas Vanek has just one goal in this stretch of games and head coach Lindy Ruff knows his top forward needs to convert on his opportunities.

“The opportunities are there and I thought he’s stayed with it. There wasn’t any of that stomp and hang your head, he just kept working and if you keep working than good things will happen."

The injury bug continues to bite the Sabres as forwards Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe did not make the trip to Nashville. The most concern lies with Gerbe who received a cut across his face during last night's game. During a third period faceoff, fellow Sabre Paul Gaustad cut Gerbe as he was tripped by Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk. Gerbe promptly skated off the ice and was attended to by the Buffalo trainers. He was unable to travel with the team.

Click here for the Lindy Ruff podcast

“He’s not doing well so we left him at home so he won’t play. He received a lot of stitches and doesn’t feel too well and didn’t get any sleep last night. Not sure how many stitches he received but it was enough.”

With Gerbe set to miss time, Buffalo has recalled Rochester Americans forward Corey Tropp. The recall will be Tropp’s third of the season and he has two points (1+1) in 10 games with the big club.

The good news on the injury front is that goaltender Ryan Miller is set to return to action. Miller has been out the past nine games with an upper body injury courtesy of Boston's Milan Lucic. The Sabres managed only three wins since losing Miller and Ruff knows that goaltending is one of the keys to getting his club back on track

“On 95 percent of the occasions your goaltender has to be a difference maker. For a long time Jhonas (Enroth) was, but he’s struggled a bit. We need Ryan to step in and play well and obviously this is a great opportunity for him.”

West Seneca native Chris Mueller will be in the line-up for Nashville. Mueller signed as a free agent with the Predators in 2010 and spent time with their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. This is Mueller’s first recall of the season, after playing 15 games for them last season. He is quite excited to take on his hometown team.

Click here for the Chris Mueller podcast.

“It’s always exciting when you’re recalled, whether it’s your first game or your one hundredth. When I found out it was against the Sabres it was like my first game all over again.”

Game time is 8 p.m. and can be seen on MSG. Make sure to tune in at 7:30 p.m. for Tops Game Night.
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