Rob Niedermayer, still in search of his first goal and scratched for the first time Friday in the 3-0 loss to St. Louis, will return to the lineup Sunday against Washington, coach Lindy Ruff said today.
Niedermayer has yet to score in 47 games for Buffalo and gave way to center Paul Byron on Friday.
"Anytime you lose games like that, there’s going to be changes to the lineup, so you’ve just got to be ready when you’re called upon," Niedermayer said in Northtown Center in Amherst. "I’ve got to just try and be a little stronger on the puck and try and limit the turnovers. We’ve got to get a little more zone time in the offensive zone, and that’s when our line [with Mike Grier and Paul Gaustad] is playing the best, so we’ll try and do that."
The goal drought is admittedly bugging the 36-year-old veteran.
"It’s frustrating," Niedermayer said. "You’d like to be contributing, especially at important time of the year right now. It’s frustrating, but all you can do is try your best out there."
Niedermayer is on a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Sabres, which makes him a likely candidate to be included in trade talks. The deadline for deals is Feb. 28.
"You can only concentrate on things you can control," Niedermayer said. "We’re in a real tough playoff race, and that’s all I’m concerned about."