The Sabres are hoping a successful preseason will propel them toward a solid start once the puck drops for real in October. They'll kick off their exhibition schedule Saturday with a long list of familiar names.
Goaltender Ryan Miller, forwards Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville, and defensemen Tyler Myers, Shaone Morrisonn, Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera are among those set to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. Saturday in HSBC Arena.
"We focused on our preseason last year, came through that and had a real good start," coach Lindy Ruff said after practice today. "We want to play the games hard. We want to put a lot into the preseason games so we’re ready for the regular season."
Miller and Portland starter Jhonas Enroth are scheduled to split the crease time. The full lineup:
Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford
Luke Adam-Tim Connolly-Jason Pominville
Tyler Ennis-Rob Niedermayer-Zack Kassian
Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Cody McCormick
Shaone Morrisonn-Tyler Myers
Chris Butler-Drew Schiestel
Brayden McNabb-Andrej Sekera
"It’s going to be a mix," Ruff said. "Some of the young guys -- Ennis, Gerbe, Kassian, Adam, guys like that -- are going to get a chance to play. At the same time, a good group of veteran players where we want to, on home ice, have a good showing."
Captain Craig Rivet, meanwhile, practiced only briefly today before leaving the ice with an undisclosed injury.
"He left the ice and we’re getting him checked out," Ruff said. "It has nothing to do with his shoulder, though."