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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.

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