By Mike Harrington
Coach Lindy Ruff said the Sabres will dress seven defensemen for warmups prior to tonight's game against Montreal. He'll then make a decision which six to suit up for the game or perhaps whether to keep all seven in the lineup.
The biggest news is that Christian Ehrhoff should be ready to go after missing Tuesday's game in Ottawa with an undisclosed muscle strain. Ehrhoff is Buffalo's runaway ice time leader this year at 23 minutes, 54 seconds per game and is a plus-2 while playing the most consistent game among the blueliners this season.
Ehrhoff was injured Sunday against Florida and said his issue developed when he woke up Monday. He tried to take the morning skate Tuesday in Ottawa but was quickly shut down.
"After a couple laps, I knew it was not working," he said. "A couple extra days helped."
Mike Weber, who missed Wednesday's practice for a maintenance day, skated fine and will play. Andrej Sekera and Robyn Regehr both skated fully and are progressing nicely from their ankle injuries. Ruff said he anticipates Sekera will be ready to play Saturday night on Long Island and said Regehr is a possibility for either that game or Sunday's visit by Boston.
The Sabres figure to go with Ehrhoff, Weber, Jordan Leopold, Alexander Sulzer and Tyler Myers on defense. Adam Pardy played well in his debut Tuesday and should get another shot. That likely leaves T.J. Brennan as the seventh man or as a scratch.
The Sabres had an optional morning skate with several players, including Ryan Miller, not taking the ice. Miller will be in goal tonight.
There's plenty of speculation, including this Montreal Gazette article, the Canadiens will start backup Peter Budaj in goal tonight after Carey Price has played eight of the first nine games. The Habs are coming off last night's 2-1 loss to Boston.
Budaj, who gave up five goals in a 6-1 loss at Ottawa that was his only start, is 3-1-1 vs. the Sabres with a 2.08 GAA and .929 save percentage. He's played against Buffalo while with both Colorado and Montreal.
Click below to hear Ruff's pregame media where he talks about the situation on defense and how he's pushing forward in the face of the club's 1-6-1 slump.
taggedChristian Ehrhoff | Lindy Ruff