Lots of little stories that can brew into bigger ones surrounding tonight's Sabres-Hurricanes game in First Niagara Center. The Sabres had a full morning skate today, with even Lindy Ruff on the ice in Buffalo for the first time since his collision with Jordan Leopold last month (Ruff started skating on the team's road trip). Here's the quick rundown:
---Ryan Miller will play in net tonight, making his 21st start in the last 22 games and his 10th straight. (He's 6-1-1 in the last eight with a 1.60 GAA and .952 save percentage). Miller said he was tired Monday in Winnipeg but told coach Lindy Ruff this morning he was feeling fresher. Still, Ruff admitted that backup Jhonas Enroth -- who is winless since Nov. 26 -- is going to have to play soon, perhaps as early as Thursday night in Boston.
"We got some back-to-back games Jhonas will have to play that will be demanding on us," Ruff said. "To come back and have to play four [games] in six [nights] is a tough test. We know Jhonas will have to step in for one of those."
---At least at the morning skate, Ruff didn't shuffle his lines. Derek Roy remained between Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville even though the trio has no points and is a combined minus-12 over the last three games. In the last six games, they have three points and are minus-13.
Ruff did, however, say that he was "still chewin' on that one" when asked if he might switch things up tonight. Translation: Pay attention in the second period.
"You score one goal and the puck starts following you for some reason,' said Roy. "Then you get another couple. You have to work together."
Vanek, who has four goals since the calendar hit 2012, pushed away several questions about whether he's got a lingering shoulder problem.
"I'm pretty good. You always have bumps and bruises during the year but those are no excuses," he said. "It's not an issue for me. I don't worry about that too much. It's a game of confidence. I just haven't got myself into spots where I can get those shots away."
---Cody Hodgson makes his home debut tonight. As will likely be the case with most of his home games, he'll have lots of family here. Hodgson has no points but is plus-2 in four games since coming from Vancouver,
"I'm excited, excited to meet the fans and get to know them," Hodgson said.
Of course he hasn't been here long -- and he's leaving again right after the game for the trip to Boston and Ottawa. "That's hockey. That's life really," he said. "I can't get too used to it but I'm happy to be here and getting more comfortable."
---The Canes did not skate today after last night's overtime win in Washington. They're last in the NHL with eight road wins but one was here Oct. 14, when they scored two short-handed goals to hand the Sabres a 4-3 defeat in the home opener.
Click below to hear audio from this morning's sessions: