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NOTEBOOK: MILLER READY TO RETURN

Thursday, 03.26.2009 / 3:04 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: MILLER READY TO RETURN
Ryan Miller (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Ryan Miller will return to the lineup Friday night in time to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at HSBC Arena. But after missing the last 13 games with a high-ankle sprain, he wanted to make one thing clear to the media before he plays; he’s no savior.

“I’m a goalie,” Miller said. “I go out and try to stop the puck. If I can help make a difference, I want to do that. But by no means [am I] a guarantee, by no means [am I] a savior.
  Lindy Ruff: Audio | Video
  Ryan Miller: Audio | Video
  Dominic Moore: Audio | Video








“I can go out and give an honest effort and get in the way… but I think everyone needs to draw something from themselves this time of year.”

Miller returns with the team currently sitting in 10th place in the Eastern Conference; three points behind the ninth-place Florida Panthers and five points behind Montreal for the final seed in the playoffs. There are nine games remaining in the regular season for Buffalo.

“I want to get back into the games, I want to get back into the battle… we have a great shot to make a run,” Miller said. “Hopefully we gained some confidence last night [in a 5-3 win against Florida].”

Miller said he still feels discomfort in the ankle and there is some lingering stiffness in certain positions while in net, but added that there weren’t “any real weaknesses associated with it.”

“This is as good as it’s going to get,” he said. 

While Head Coach Lindy Ruff admitted that gaining the No. 1 goaltender provides an emotional lift for the team, he warned that it may take some time for Miller to adjust after missing more than a month.

“He’s had some good practices, but playing in game situations and game-intensity, you put him in and wonder where that’s going to fall,” he said.

Ruff added that, to combat it, he expects his team to play even harder in front of the netminder and allow him time to get back into a rhythm.

“I’m very realistic about it,” Miller said. “I’ve come off injury before, I know what to expect.

“I’ve tried to stay active and be around the meetings and watch video and do what I can do to contribute… hopefully it sets a good example and shows guys that I’m hungry and want to be playing even though I can’t be.”

The time he spent away from the ice renewed his enthusiasm.

“They should all feel good that they are on the ice. They should respect the fact that they have the chance to play,” Miller said of his teammates. “You’re out for any length of time, whether you miss a game, coach puts you in the stands, or turns to another player… it should sting. It should feel terrible and you should want to be back out there.

“For me, I wanted to show that I wasn’t going to just coast. I wanted to do everything I could do. Now I’ve reached the point where I don’t think the ankle is going to get any worse… I’m ready to go out and try to compete.”

Ruff said Patrick Lalime will serve as the back-up goaltender for Friday’s game, although he has yet to make any long-term decisions with three healthy goaltenders.



The lines at Thursday’s practice were as follows:

Clarke MacArthur – Tim Connolly – Jason Pominville
Jochen HechtDerek Roy – Maxim Afinogenov
Thomas Vanek – Dominic Moore – Daniel Paille
Adam Mair- Paul Gaustad – Patrick Kaleta
Drew StaffordMatt Ellis – Andrew Peters



QUOTABLE: Lindy Ruff on Drew Stafford

“The message today was, he’s going to start on a different line…We’re in a situation right now where we’ve got to go with what seems to be going best. That can go from game-to-game, that can go to from period-to-period now. We’re in the ultimate desperation mode and we can’t have a guy not play well for a certain extent, sometimes it can’t be a period. We need him, but we need him playing a lot better than he’s playing now.”



Dominic Moore will face his former team in the Maple Leafs tomorrow night for the first time since being dealt to Buffalo at the 2009 NHL Trade Deadline in March.

Moore’s next point will mark a milestone as he currently has 99 career NHL points (35+64).



Craig Rivet will reach a milestone in Friday’s contest, playing in his 800th career NHL game. The defenseman has registered 214 points (47+167) and 1,027 penalty minutes in the League.

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