Sabres captain Craig Rivet, flanked by Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe, took one knee at the blue line for a chat with the rookie wingers. It undoubtedly was a talk about the power play because they are all going to be on the same unit tonight.
Buffalo is changing its 0-for-14 man-advantage unit in a big way -- or, based on size, a small way. Nathan Gerbe is replacing Raffi Torres for Game Five against Boston, and the left winger is getting a power-play role, too. One of the Sabres' units will feature Ennis, Drew Stafford and Gerbe up front, with Tyler Myers and Rivet at the point.
Ennis is 5-foot-9, 163 pounds and Gerbe is 5-5, 160, but they had success in Portland together and feel they can take advantage of the Bruins, too.
"We’re excited," Ennis said. "We had some good chemistry down there. We’re both kind of smaller, skill guys that kind of use our speed a little bit. The power play is just quickness. I think we can try to do that tonight, just make things happen really quick, get traffic in front. We just have to be confident with the puck and make smart plays."
Said Ruff on inserting Gerbe: "We’re hoping he can bring us some scoring. Maybe a second-unit power-play guy that can add a little something for us."
Torres has yet to score for the Sabres, who acquired him at the trade deadline. Ruff said he's more unhappy with other struggling players, but those are core guys -- Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly -- who need to show him something.
"There’s guys I’m unhappier with, but they have to come through for me," Ruff said. "You look at the left side, and if you put him, the way the power plays are lined up, it’s a lineup we’ve got to put together. But not unhappy. I would hope that he would have put in a couple of the opportunities that he had, but not unhappy, no."
Thomas Vanek, as expected, won't play tonight. The Sabres, down, 3-1, need to win to extend their season.
"If he felt he could play and be effective, he’d be in the lineup tonight," Ruff said. "We have one game to stay alive. In the conversation with him, he didn’t think he was at that point yet."
The audio from Ruff's news conference is below.