Hockey talk in a second (Ryan Miller is starting tonight) but the big news is that Rick Jeanneret remains on vacation. His place behind the mike will be taken tonight by Steve Kouleas of the SCORE Network in Toronto, a long-time AHL play-by-play man who will be covering the Olympics in Vancouver.
(*2 p.m. UPDATE: Jeanneret is expected to be back for Friday's game against Boston*)
Meanwhile, Ryan Miller will get the start tonight against the New Jersey Devils even though he started six of the seven games on the road trip -- and played 50 minutes in relief of Patrick Lalime in Anaheim.
"The reason we gave him another full day off on the trip was to have him rested," said coach Lindy Ruff. "You look at this situation coming back and Patty is going to be as tired as Ryan right now. He might even be a little bit more because of the practice workout he goes through. And he still has to fly and travel at the same time."
Ruff said his lineup is uncertain tonight, pending Drew Stafford's return from the flu bug that KO'd him from Monday's game in Vancouver. The coach said all players will dress for warmups. There doesn't appear to be any changes in the offing on defense as Andrej Sekera and Nathan Paetsch will be scratches.
The Sabres are 0-3-1 in their last four games while the Devils are 2-5 in their last seven and have just 11 goals in their last eight. Odd New Jersey stat: The Devils are 10-1 in the second game of back-to-backs and that comes into play after last night's 3-0 loss in Ottawa.
Speaking of Ottawa, the Senators are just five points behind the Sabres but Buffalo still has three games in hand. Still, Ottawa was 16 back just a couple of weeks ago.
"There's desperate teams to make the playoffs and get into that picture and desperate teams to stay where they are in the lineup," Ruff said. "Right now, we're in the desperate category. We're trying to get out of a losing funk. ... We don't have the luxury now of saying, "Well, it's too bad it was our first game back.' "
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