The Buffalo Sabres are on a bit of roll as of late with points in each of their last four games and. They are going to need more of that good fortune as the team starts a run of eight of their next nine games coming at home. The team is 11 points out of a playoff position, need to leap frog six teams to get to in playoff contention, and only 30 games left in the season.
The biggest story heading into tonight's game is the status of head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff suffered three broken ribs during a collision with Jordan Leopold in practice on Monday. Assistant coach James Patrick ran practice on Tuesday and if Lindy can't be behind the bench, he will assume the role of head coach. It would be the second time Ruff missed a game in 15 seasons, the other coming in 2006 when he had to deal with a family emergency.
General manager Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News that this adds to one of the strangest seasons he has been apart of:
"I have a fairly lengthy history in the game, and you take a certain comfort that this is a very unusual year, and they don't come around very often," Regier said. "Not unlike the winter in Buffalo this year. I think that that awareness allows you to kind of keep your head down, you keep moving, you have confidence in the staff, in the players. You recognize that if you stay with it things will turn."
In terms of the starting lineup, the only player that is still expected to miss playing time is Thomas Vanek who was injured last week. This will be the second game in a row that Vanek has missed but might be able to return some time this week as he skated on his own after practice on Tuesday.
Wednesday's opponent are the Boston Bruins which means that the Ryan Miller/Milan Lucic situation will still be in the back of fans minds. While Lucic has already answered the bell in the team's last matchup on November 23rd, the fans are still going to be in a cantankerous mood and probably let Lucic know their feelings throughout the night. The Bruins are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday night. There should be no major changes for the Bruins lineup either from Sunday afternoon.
Game time is 7:30 pm and can be seen on NBC Sports Network.