MORNING SKATE LINES
-Miller will start in goal tonight.
-Weber and Gaustad returning from injury; McNabb stays in lineup; Kaleta is a game-time decision.
WHAT THEY WERE SAYING THIS MORNING
--- (CLICK TO HEAR RUFF'S FULL PRESS CONFERENCE)Can you explain the recent success against Ottawa?
I get asked this every time and I don’t have a good enough answer. We’ve had some good scoring against them, and our goaltending has been really good at times. There have been games where we’ve had the special teams edge. It’s almost where we had it going in the wrong direction years ago when we couldn’t win, and now we’ve tipped it the other way.On the decision to keep McNabb in the lineup:
I don’t feel like I’m forced to play Brayden. He’s earned a spot with the way he’s played. How important is the need for secondary scoring?
We’ve had a real good push from Pominville and Vanek up top. But it’s time for Ennis, Stafford and Roy to make a difference inside of games. They had eight scoring chances (on Saturday), and I can’t stand here and tell you they did a great job because of the chances. Great chances are only good if they end up in the back of the net. I’ve like Tyler the last couple of games finally. The speed and quickness in his game is back. Now it’s the ability to finish.
--- (CLICK TO HEAR WEBER AUDIO)Are you looking forward to getting back in the lineup tonight?
For sure. It’s been three weeks with the injury but it’s felt like three months. I’m excited about getting back and being able to help my teammates again.Was it frustrating to be out so long with the rib injury?
As much as I bugged (trainer Tim Macre) to get x-rays every day to see how it was progressing, it was one of those things where the bone takes three weeks to heal. But now it’s healed and I’m ready to rock.Will your physical game be affected at all by the injury?
I’m cleared so I’m ready to go. Other than the first couple of days I haven’t had any pain or soreness. There’ll be no hesitation. I know what I have to do and I know how I have to play.
--- (CLICK TO HEAR POMINVILLE AUDIO)Based on how tight the Eastern Conference standings are, how important are the next five games?
You’re so close to being one of the top teams in the conference, and you’re also so close to being one of the bottom teams. There’s not a big difference, and the parity is huge. We need to use these division games to climb, or push teams back. We see it no different regardless of who we are playing, we want to keep climbing.