With Craig Rivet still battling the flu, Patrick Lalime joined him on the sidelines Tuesday with a stomach ailment. Ruff said Lalime went to see a doctor today to see if he was possibly suffering from appendicitis.
If Lalime is unable to make this week’s road trip to New Jersey and New York, Ruff said Ryan Miller
, who has missed four games with a lower body injury, would likely be ready to serve as the backup goaltender but has avoided putting an exact date on his return to game action.
“(Ryan) had a good practice today, he needs some really good, intense practices and he hasn’t had any. We’ll get him to where we need him and then he’ll play.”
With Miller coming back from an injury and Lalime battling illness, the focus turns to goaltender Jhonas Enroth
, who picked up the first victory of his NHL career with a 23-save performance in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win at Toronto. He also stopped four of five shootout attempts.
Ruff was impressed with Enroth’s performance against Toronto, especially given that he had been pulled after the first period the previous night against Montreal when he allowed three goals in the first 20 minutes of his season debut.
“It was great for him to get his first NHL win,” said Ruff. “It should make him feel good about the way he played and how he performed in the shootout. Part of his makeup is that there isn’t a lot that bothers the kid. He doesn’t get too emotional either way – he doesn’t get too jacked up, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him down. It’s a pretty good demeanor for a goaltender.”
Following Tuesday’s practice, Buffalo boarded a plane and headed to New Jersey to begin a quick two-game road trip and will play back-to-back games against the Devils and Rangers beginning tomorrow night in New Jersey. The Sabres have gone 4-3-1 on the road this season. Coming off a win at Toronto, Buffalo looks to win back-to-back games for the first time all season.
“We definitely need to put games together, and you can’t do it unless you win the first one, so we’d like to build off that,” Ruff said.
Ruff said Tuesday that the emphasis of practice this week has been on puck protection and special teams. Though the penalty killing unit is currently ranked 25th in the NHL at 78.3%, the Sabres have gone 9-for-9 on the penalty kill over the last three games.