Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres in their final home game before the Olympic break Wednesday night but Tyler Myers will not play due to injury.
The game at First Niagara Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins can be seen nationally on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. and will feature 11 athletes headed to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic Games.
Miller (United States), Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia), Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) and Henrik Tallidner (Sweden) will represent the Sabres in Sochi as well as interim coach Ted Nolan, who will be behind the bench for Team Latvia.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are sending seven players to compete in the games including captain Sidney Crosby (Canada), who will also serve as the captain of Team Canada; Chris Kunitz (Canada); Evgeni Malkin (Russia); Jussi Jokinen (Finland); Olli Maatta (Finland); Paul Martin (U.S.) and Brooks Orpik (U.S.).
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Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is the head coach for Team USA and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato is on his Olympic staff.
Miller is vying for a starting role with Team USA and has another opportunity to show Bylsma first-hand what he can do.
However, he’ll be without Myers, one of the Sabres ice-time leaders, in front of him.
Myers will miss the game with a lower-body injury he sustained in the second period Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
“It doesn’t look very good for tonight,” Nolan said. “We’ll see. Hopefully he’ll be ready tomorrow.”
Nolan said he won’t make any changes at forward, so Zenon Konopka and Ville Leino will be healthy scratches for the second straight game.
Chad Ruhwedel, a healthy scratch against the Oilers, will be back in on defense. Against Pittsburgh, which leads the Eastern Conference, Ruhwedel is going to try and simplify his game.
“Stay within yourself. Stay within your own game,” he said. “For me, it’s being sound defensively and getting the puck out of the zone, making a good first pass. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.”
Crosby enters the game having been held scoreless in back-to-back contests for only the second time all season and for just the third time in 92 games dating back to the beginning of last season.
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The Sabres would like to keep Crosby off the scoresheet, but historically, have had a lot of trouble doing so. He’s collected at least one point in 22 of 24 games against Buffalo and is currently on a 16-game point streak against the Sabres that dates back to Dec. 29, 2007.
He has nine goals and 17 assists over that span. He’s also recorded points in each of his 13 visits to Buffalo (8+12).
Crosby leads the League with 75 points (27+48) and the Penguins are the highest scoring team in the East. Nolan will look to bring the battle to them.
WATCH: NOLAN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
“I think sometimes, if we’re too careful, that’s when you get hurt,” he said. “If you want to sit back and try to play a strong defensive game against a pretty potent team, you’re playing a little bit afraid, you’re sitting back a little too much versus you have nothing to lose.
“Let’s just try to attack them as hard as we can and force them and take our chances in the offensive zone. We still have 100-something feet to make up for that one mistake.”
After the game, the Sabres travel to Ottawa for a game Thursday night against the Senators. Then the team is off until they play again on Feb. 25 against Carolina.
Some players nursing injuries will take the break to heal up and Drew Stafford, who has missed time with an upper-body injury, hopes the team can go into the break on a high note.
“Coming back from Colorado, we wanted to have a little bit of a response against Edmonton. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we wanted, but I thought the effort was there,” he said. “We’re just going to try and carry that battle, compete, into tonight against one of the top teams in the League and hopefully give them some sort of run for their money.”
17 Linus Omark – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
84 Philip Varone – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 37 Matt Ellis – 82 Marcus Foligno
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth