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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

The look on Jochen Hecht’s face said it all. After weeks of stalled comeback attempts, the 34-year-old declared himself 100 percent healthy and available to play in Wednesday’s grudge match with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. It’s been a long road back for Hecht, who has yet to play this season after suffering a concussion on the second day of training camp in an innocent collision with teammate Shaone Morrisonn.

“I’m excited about it,” said a smiling Hecht this morning. “It’s been a long time. The last game was in the playoffs against Philly, so I’m excited to get out there and play.”

Hecht had appeared to be making progress a couple of times earlier this season but was forced to shut it down because of post-workout headaches - most notably during the team’s trip to Germany. He credits a recent week off and a change in his treatments to the speedier recovery process this time around. He admits the last few weeks have been difficult at times.

“It was getting frustrating. You’re close, you’re coming back, but you’re still not 100 percent. But like I said, that week really helped. The (chiropractic and active release) treatment right now is catching on and I feel 100 percent again.”

Hecht practiced at center today on a line with rookies Luke Adam and Corey Tropp, a trio that Hecht jokingly referred to as “two young kids and the old guy.”

Tyler Ennis didn’t skate today, and Lindy Ruff said his injured ankle had become sore due to the increased workload over the past few days. “Some of that can be expected,” said Ruff. “It tells us he’s not quite there yet.” … Ruff also said that while Ryan Miller is feeling better, he still isn’t symptom free … Patrick Kaleta was absent from practice with a maintenance day. 

In Kaleta’s absence, today’s practice lines looked like this:

The red-hot Bruins come into Buffalo riding a nine-game winning streak, the longest such streak in the NHL this season. It’s a far cry from the 3-7 start they got off to, which everyone immediately credited to a Stanley Cup hangover. Well it appears that a few Tylenol and some Alka-Seltzer rid the B’s of that hangover because they’ve been on fire ever since. Check out some of these gaudy numbers from the current streak:
  • This is Boston’s longest win streak since a 10-game stretch from Dec. 12, 2008-Jan. 1, 2009. They haven’t lost since a 4-2 setback in Montreal on October 29.
  • They have outscored their opponents by a 43-14 margin, and have scored fewer than four goals just twice in the nine games (2-1 vs. Columbus on Nov. 17; 1-0 @ Montreal on Nov. 21). In their first 10 games, they scored just 22 goals and allowed 25.
  • Boston’s goal differential of plus-26 is 11 more than second place Pittsburgh.
  • Boston carries a 162:11 shutout streak into tonight’s game, with their last goal allowed being a Derek MacKenzie score on Tuukka Rask at 2:49 of the second period in the win over Columbus on Nov. 17
  • The Bruins have scored 10 goals in their last 45 power play opportunities (22.2%), which snapped an 0-for-22 stretch after scoring on their first power play opportunity of the season.
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