Head Coach Lindy Ruff is trying to give the Buffalo Sabres a much needed jump start by giving the lines a minor shake up this week.
Following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, Ruff opted to make a few changes at Wednesday’s practice; dropping Thomas Vanek
to play alongside Tim Kennedy and Mike Grier, and shifting Clarke MacArthur to play with Vanek’s previous linemates in Derek Roy
and Drew Stafford
The line of Jochen Hecht
, Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville
stayed intact, while Paul Gaustad centered Adam Mair and Matt Ellis
“I’m looking for a road lineup that will get us the win,” Ruff said prior to the team’s flight to North Carolina. “We’re trying to spread it out where one team can’t put out their so-called [top] defensive pair against one line or two lines. Now that it’s spread out amongst three, maybe we can get a little more balance.”
It’s certainly not the first time that Ruff has resorted to changing the lines this season, nor are the combinations unfamiliar. ‘The Frozen Four’ line of Vanek-Kennedy-Grier, as it has since been named by the broadcast, experienced some success together earlier this year.
“But they went through a stretch of five or six games where nothing was going on and we eventually broke that line up,” Ruff said. “Hopefully they can get something going and get the opportunities that are needed.”
The changes may not be the only modifications to the lineup before Thursday’s match-up with the Hurricanes. Ruff said that Steve Montador should be available after missing Tuesday’s game with an undisclosed injury. If he is put back into the rotation, and history repeats itself, it’s possible that Andrej Sekera
could be the odd-man out.
The team practiced for just over an hour on Wednesday before departing for the road trip. The defensemen had a 20-minute head start, however, as Ruff held a meeting with the forwards before they took the ice.
skated briefly on his own prior to the team taking the ice. The winger did not skate with any gear on, however, and seemed to be testing his injured foot. Kaleta has missed the last four games after being struck with a shot in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and suffering some bad bruising.