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NOTEBOOK: END IN SIGHT

Friday, 04.01.2011 / 7:48 PM / News
By Rob Crean  - Public Relations Director
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NOTEBOOK: END IN SIGHT
The Sabres went through a 45-minute practice at HSBC Arena on Friday before boarding a plane for Washington, D.C., where they will begin yet another set of back-to-back games. A Saturday matchup with the Southeast Division-leading Capitals will be followed by a showdown with the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday that will carry a lot of weight in the playoff race.

Ryan Miller did not participate in Friday's practice with the team and Head Coach Lindy Ruff told the media that Miller remained "day-to-day with an upper body injury."

Miller has not played since Tuesday in the Sabres' 4-3 loss to Toronto.  The following night, Jhonas Enroth stepped in for Miller and posted his first NHL shutout in a critical 1-0 win over the Rangers.

If Enroth is called upon again this weekend, he will take an even-keeled approach despite being in the heat of the playoff race.

"I don't really think about it that much, I just go out there, have fun and do my best.  I'm a pretty calm person and I guess that's something that helps me," Enroth said.

Prior to Wednesday's game against the Rangers, Enroth had not played since Mar. 13 when he backstopped Buffalo to a 6-4 win over Ottawa.  Ruff said that, despite his lack of game action, Enroth has put in the work to stay sharp.

"It's not an easy role to be in, but his work in practice has been excellent.  He's put in a lot of extra time. Again, it's how you're going to react to game situations, and I think he answered that call for us," Ruff said.

Despite playing just periodically for Buffalo, Enroth has put together a solid season at the NHL level, going 6-2-1 with a 2.45 goals against average and a .915 save percentage in nine appearances.

Patrick Kaleta joined his teammates on the ice Friday for the first time since suffering a severe bone bruise in his leg during the Mar. 7 game at Minnesota when he blocked a slap shot.  He has not played since, but was very pleased with how his first practice session went.

"Today went a lot better than expected," Kaleta said.  "You've got to think positive, and I'll battle through it."

Kaleta, who has missed a total of 27 games this season due to various injuries, was encouraged by the progress he made Friday as he attempts to come back from his latest setback.

"Today was huge. Yesterday was just skating by myself and going out for a twirl and just kind of feeling it out a little bit," he said.  "Today was more like, come in and see how it is, and if it's good I can go on the ice, so then I went on the ice and started moving around a little bit. I scored a couple goals, which was pretty exciting, and then I kept progressing and I was able to do a little conditioning at the end, so I'm real happy with my progress today."

Ruff also seemed pleased with Kaleta's performance in practice.

"Pat actually looked pretty good. He still has some swelling, but has been cleared to try and work out as hard as he can," Ruff said.

While no timetable has been set for Kaleta's return, he said his goal is to make it back before the end of the regular season.

"That's my goal, for sure. I'm going to do everything in my power to make that possible... The team is playing good right now. I've got to do whatever I can to help the team," said Kaleta.

Ruff did offer less encouraging news on other player injuries, saying Jochen Hecht (upper body) would not play this weekend and that it did not appear Mike Grier (knee) would play, either.

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