The Sabres scored six goals in Sunday's victory over Ottawa, so production isn't a huge issue. Still, getting their leading goal-scorer back is a boost.
Drew Stafford, who missed the past two games with a hamstring strain, will play tonight when the Hurricanes visit HSBC Arena. Stafford has 26 goals in 49 games. He had two goals and an assist in the four games before his injury.
"I had a few good days of good rehab and treatment. I feel good, ready to go," said Stafford, whose team is 3-0-1 in its last four home games. "Every game right now is huge for us for points, and I think that has something to do with it. We're definitely tightening up our game, executing well, and we've got to keep it going."
The seventh-place Sabres can create a six-point cushion over Carolina with a regulation win, while the ninth-place Hurricanes would like to pull within two points by winning in 60 minutes.
"You can use the phrase 'biggest game of the year,' and it really is for them," coach Lindy Ruff said.
Ruff, who scratched defenseman Steve Montador for Sunday's 6-4 win over Ottawa, said his defense pairings will be a game-time decision.
Ryan Miller will start in goal for Buffalo. He spoke about the Hurricanes and talked emotionally about Sunday's death of Richard Martin. The audio of the interview is below.