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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres
On the heels of last night’s 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh, the Sabres gathered at HSBC Arena this morning for a team meeting and an optional skate as they prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m.  Buffalo enters tonight’s game having won six in a row at home against the Leafs.

Friday’s loss was a missed opportunity for the Sabres, who led 2-0 after one period.  The team had been off for nine days following the All-Star break and picked up games in hand on two of the teams directly above them in the standings, Carolina and Atlanta, both of which lost twice this week while the Sabres waited to return to the ice.  The eighth-place Thrashers are six points ahead of Buffalo but have played four more games to this point.  Tonight, the Sabres get another chance to gain ground.

“We know how important this game is for us to move up the standings and to take advantage of a game in hand,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff.

Jason Pominville, who has registered eight points in the last seven games, reiterated the importance of capitalizing on the games in hand.

“We’re not in a situation where we can afford to lose those games. We need those points; we’re desperate for points,” he said.  “We’ve got games in hand but those games we’ve got to win.” 

2/5 - Jason Pominville Pregame

2/5 - Ryan Miller Pregame

Goaltender Ryan Miller enters tonight’s contest having started 27 consecutive games, a streak that began November 26 against Toronto.  Miller is 23-8-0 all-time against the Leafs, and said tonight’s game will be a chess match.

“They’re trying to make a push just like anyone else,” Miller said.  “We have to be willing to work, we have to be willing to play a little bit of the chess game.  We’ve been talking for a long time, that same cliché, it’s like a game of chess – who’s going to break first, who’s going to leave an opening, who’s going to take that big risk.” 
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