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BTB: GAUSTAD SET TO RETURN

Thursday, 12.17.2009 / 4:35 PM / Blogs - Beyond the Boards
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BTB: GAUSTAD SET TO RETURN
Paul Gaustad (Getty Images)
While the status of Pat Kaleta is still unclear, the Buffalo Sabres should be getting another forward back in the lineup with centerman Paul Gaustad.

After missing the last 10 games with a leg injury, the forward is set to return in time for Friday’s match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I feel ready to play and contribute to the team,” Gaustad said. “I’m going to play my role and play my game.”

The centerman was hurt Nov. 27 in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers after attempting to check along the boards.

With a slue of games in December, including the team’s current stretch of six games in nine nights, Head Coach Lindy Ruff hopes that Gaustad will provide a much needed reprieve – especially in the faceoff circle. 
 MULTIMEDIA

Lindy Ruff Interview
Paul Gaustad Interview
Thomas Vanek Interview
Derek Roy Interview

“We’ve struggled in the faceoff department,” Ruff said. “We’ve gone from third in the League to somewhere in the middle of the pack. We’re a better team when we start with the puck. The games where we were 65 percent on draws, we had a lot more puck possession. We spent a lot more time chasing [with Gaustad out of the lineup], we’ve tried a lot of different personnel in there to try to win faceoffs. Getting him back will give us a guy that we can use in key situations.”

Prior to suffering the injury, Gaustad was leading the NHL with a 63.6 percent success rate when taking the draw.

Having him back may also take some pressure off of those players suffering from food poisoning. Ruff reported after Wednesday’s loss in Ottawa that several players on the team had gotten sick.

“There was a couple reported [cases] earlier in the evening around 8:30-9 p.m. Then at midnight I got another call where four or five players were sick and throwing up,” Ruff said. “They didn’t come to the meeting in the morning. Some guys we really had in the doubtful category. We tried to just lighten up on their shifts.”

Facing back-to-back games, Ruff opted to give the team some rest Thursday at HSBC Arena with a 30-minute practice, where only 17 players took to the ice.

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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