The Sabres returned to HSBC Arena for practice Friday morning after taking five of a possible six points on a three-game road trip. The trip concluded Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Buffalo will play six of its next seven games at home, beginning Saturday when the Washington Capitals come to town. The Sabres could receive a significant boost if reigning Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller
returns to the lineup after missing the last six games due to injury.
“(Ryan and I) had a conversation and, in all likelihood, he’ll be our guy tomorrow night,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff.
Miller said he is prepared to resume his role as Buffalo’s starting goaltender.
“I feel like I’m back to where I’m healthy and I want to help and contribute, and I’m ready to go,” Miller said.
With Jhonas Enroth
backstopping the Sabres to a 2-0-1 record over the last three games, Miller was pleased to see his teammates pick up points in his absence.
“It’s great, I was happy to see the guys get some good bounces and get some things going our way,” he said. “It’s a grind and it’s a battle, we didn’t have a great start but now we really have to push and go about our business.”
has been skating on a line with Derek Roy
and Thomas Vanek
while Drew Stafford
has been out of the lineup with an upper body injury, and the rookie played a key role in the Sabres’ successful road trip. Ennis scored a goal in each of the last two games after netting the shootout-winning at Toronto last Saturday.
“I hadn’t scored in a few games, so I just wanted to go hard to the net and that’s what I did,” Ennis said. “It turned out that when I hung around the net, that’s where the pucks ended up and it worked out.”
Roy, meanwhile, continued his hot start to the season, recording five points (2-3-5) during the three-game stretch. His team-leading18 points (8-10-18) rank tied for fifth place in the NHL.
They’ve got a real high skill level. (Mike) Green from the back end, probably the most dangerous defenseman in the league, and obviously up front, five or six ‘A-plus’ weapons. You’ve got to make sure that you take care of the puck. If you take care of the puck and not give up the really high quality situations, you can frustrate them.” - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
When the Sabres host Washington on Saturday, they’ll be facing the team with the best record in the NHL. The Capitals currently sit atop the NHL standings with a 12-4-0 mark for 24 points.
As always, the Capitals are led by Alex Ovechkin, who ranks second in the NHL with 23 points (9-14-23) in 16 games. Meanwhile, Alexander Semin is coming off a five-point effort Thursday night, which included a hat trick and two assists in the team’s win over Tampa Bay.
“They’ve got a real high skill level,” said Ruff. “(Mike) Green from the back end, probably the most dangerous defenseman in the league, and obviously up front, five or six ‘A-plus’ weapons. You’ve got to make sure that you take care of the puck. If you take care of the puck and not give up the really high quality situations, you can frustrate them.”
Buffalo and Washington will meet twice in a span of five days. Following Saturday’s game at HSBC Arena, the teams will face off again on Wednesday in the nation’s capital. Sabres defenseman Shaone Morrisonn will be facing his former teammates for the first time this season. Morrisonn spent the last five seasons with Washington, appearing in 374 regular season games and 26 postseason contests.
Captain Craig Rivet returned to practice Friday after a bout with the flu, which had caused him to miss the last two games. Ruff said Rivet was not quite ready to return to game action.