The Sabres will have an unusual fourth line for tonight's game against Atlanta in HSBC Arena, as Derek Roy will skate with Matt Ellis and Adam Mair after missing two games following a shot to the head last Saturday from Ottawa's Jesse Winchester. The No. 1 center and leading score on the fourth line? What gives?
"That should be a heck of a line is the way I look at it. Get back in and work you way back up," Lindy Ruff said this morning "Matty and Adam have been probably our two hardest workers. Adam has really worked hard and skated well. He can't complain about playing those guys. I might be giving him the two guys working the hardest. They may turn out to be our best line tonight."
The other lines will remain the same: Gaustad centering MacArthur and Stafford, Connolly centering Pominville and Hecht and Kennedy centering Vanek and Grier. Paetsch and Sekera will be scratches.
Ryan Miller will be back in net after enduring his first home yanking of the season in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Pittsburgh. The Sabres are 0-1-5 in their last six against Atlanta and haven't beaten the Thrashers since a 10-1 win here on Jan. 18, 2008. Atlanta won the only meeting so far this season by a 4-2 count on Oct. 17.
The Sabres will also be paying close attention to the Team USA Olympic announcement, scheduled for after today's Winter Classic in Boston between the Bruins and Flyers. Miller will have his berth on the team made official while Paul Gaustad remains on the bubble.
In other Olympic news, Jochen Hecht said he talked to Germany coach and ex-Sabre Uwe Krupp on Thursday and Krupp said Hecht is still alive for consideration. According to Hecht, Krupp said the Germans are still working off a 35-man roster and will finalize it on Jan. 20. Hecht was not named Wednesday when Germany issued its first draft of its roster, which Krupp told him was a requirement from Vancouver organizers (and likely, the International Ice Hockey Federation).
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