The Buffalo Sabres are hopeful that Jaroslav Spacek will return to the Sabres lineup this Thursday in Boston (7 p.m., MSG, WGR 550-AM).
Buffalo is riding a two-game, road-winning streak and would like to break .500 overall in the four-game swing away from HSBC Arena. Spacek's services could only help.
"We've made some adjustments, but [Spacek's absence] it's hurt us," said Ruff. "That power-play unit, with him shooting off the right side, was going real well for us. I thought his penalty killing was excellent for us."
Despite missing the last five games, Spacek still remains tied with center Paul Gaustad with a team-leading three power-play goals.
The duo is a contrast in styles with Spacek blasting from long range and Gaustad looking for redirections and loose pucks in front.Andrej Sekera
and fellow rookie Mike Weber
had filled a vital roles on the blueline since Spacek's and Dmitri Kalinin's injuries.
Weber was reassigned to the Rochester Americans on Sunday.
"He's played good hockey," Ruff said of Sekera. "He's made some decisions that a young defenseman will make, but he has stepped in and done a pretty good job for us. But again, we had Weber, who was playing in his first couple of games, another defenseman playing his first year in tough situations.
"That's a real tough situation."
Sekera, the more offensively gifted of the two, has recorded an assist and a minus-three rating in five games. Weber, a more physicial defenseman, has two penalty minutes in two games and no points.
Ruff reiterated Kalinin's long-term time line of four to six weeks on Monday. Kalinin, who sprained his MCL in a knee-on-knee collision with Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour on Oct. 24, would not be expected to return until sometime late November to early December.
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Quotable: "I don't think we're where we want to be, but we've stuck with our system, relied on it and found ways to put the puck in the net. You're going to get your chances when you stick to a system and create turnovers. -- defenseman Brian Campbell (Listen to full interview