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VANEK COULD RETURN IN BOSTON SERIES

Sunday, 04.18.2010 / 1:05 PM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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VANEK COULD RETURN IN BOSTON SERIES
Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek (26) of Austria is hooked by Boston Bruins' Johnny Boychuk (55) during the first period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, April 17, 2010. Vanek was injured on the play. The Bruins won 5-3. (AP Photo/ David Duprey)
Don’t rule Thomas Vanek out just yet.

Although the winger is doubtful for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in Boston on Monday night, Head Coach Lindy Ruff reported that his lower body injury may not be as bad as first believed.

In fact, he may even be available during the ongoing series with the Bruins.

Vanek was hurt during the first period of Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Boston after getting tangled up with defenseman Johnny Boychuck and smashing into the end boards. Ruff called the play a “two-handed” slash that caused Vanek to hobble to the Buffalo bench and immediately exit the game.

However, after further evaluation, the Sabres received good news from the medical staff according to Ruff; ‘the damage isn’t severe.’

“When a player comes off like that you obviously think the worst. That was my initial thought,” Ruff said. “But then after the game, finding out after he had been looked at, I was pleasantly surprised.”

Vanek will make the trip to Boson with the team today. If he is not ready in the time for Game 3, the Sabres can either put Drew Stafford back in the lineup – who has been recovering from concussion-like symptoms – or recall a player from the AHL Portland Pirates.

Stafford has been skating with the team, but has not yet been cleared to play.

“He will be tested later today,” Ruff said. “He won’t fly with us, he’ll be tested and if he’s cleared he’ll be available to play. But then we’re dealing again with another player that is going to step in without really [conditioning]. He’s had one practice… no physical contact of any sort. The obvious answer is that he’ll play if he’s cleared. Then the question is, can he ramp it up enough inside of a playoff series?”

Stay tuned to sabres.com for an update Monday, following the team’s morning skate. The Sabres look to regain the series lead in Boston. Game time is at 7 p.m. at TD Garden.

To see Ruff's full interview, click here.

[UPDATE: APRIL 19, 3:45 PM: DREW STAFFORD WILL RETURN TO THE LINEUP FOR GAME 3. HEAD COACH LINDY RUFF SAID THOMAS VANEK'S STATUS HASN'T CHANGED - "NO STEP BACK BUT NO PROGRESS."]

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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