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Friday, 10.14.2011 / 11:57 AM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE
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THE MORNING SKATE
HOME SWEET HOME
For the 14th time in his coaching career, Lindy Ruff will step behind the bench tonight as the Sabres open up the home portion of their 2011-12 season. While last Friday’s win over Anaheim in Helsinki was technically the team’s “home” opener, Ruff knows there’s nothing like playing in front of your own fans for the first time, and he can sense there’s something special about tonight’s game.

“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this one, coming back home after playing as well as we did overseas,” Ruff said following today’s morning skate. “I think what’s important is that we get back into the grind now. People are going to pound you, people are going to be hard on the puck. It’s not your teammates anymore like in practice. We know they played a real desperate game last time out against Boston, and we’re gonna have to match that.”


Ruff didn’t announce his starting goaltender or any lineup changes from last weekend’s wins in Europe. He did confirm yesterday that Jochen Hecht will not be available for either game this weekend. Hecht has been practicing with the team all week, but he is still recovering from a concussion he sustained in training camp.


This is the 180th all-time meeting between Buffalo and the Carolina/Hartford franchise. The Sabres lead the series 94-61-4, and are 53-28-8 at home.


Carolina’s Paul Maurice will coach his 900th career NHL game tonight, making him just the seventh coach to reach this milestone with one team. He trails only Lindy Ruff (1,068) and Nashville’s Barry Trotz (986) among active coaches in games coached with their current team.


Carolina comes into tonight’s game with a record of 1-2-1. They were winless in the first three games, before breaking that off with a 3-2 victory against Boston on Wednesday. Jeff Skinner leads the Canes with five points (1+4), but had his three-game scoring streak snapped in Wednesday’s win.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82