Special to The News
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Alexander Sulzer is ready to play for the Sabres tonight against Carolina, which means they will say goodbye to Chad Ruhwedel.
Buffalo called up Ruhwedel from Rochester last week on an emergency basis after Sulzer went down with injury. By rule, the rookie defenseman must go back to the Amerks with Sulzer healthy. The Sabres have only four regular recalls to use for the remaining 17 games of the season, and they've elected not to use one to keep Ruhwedel.
The Sabres held an optional skate this morning in PNC Arena after coach Ted Nolan put them through a skating-intense workout Wednesday because he didn't like their practice habits.
"They’re not bad," Nolan said. "They’re not tanking. That was not designed to do that. That was just designed to remind them that we have to work every day. It’s not whether we’re in first place or last place. It doesn’t matter. It’s how you prepare yourself. I would do the same thing if we were in first versus last. It’s just a reminder that we have to work.
"We have to be a lot better prepared and a lot more mentally tougher."
Here are notes heading into tonight's matchup:
*The Sabres are looking for their first win in Carolina since Nov. 18, 2011. They will try to avoid their first four-game losing streak at Carolina/Hartford since they lost six in a row in Hartford from April 8, 1995, to April 7, 1997.
*The Hurricanes are 8-3-1 in their last 12 home games against Buffalo and have won three straight.
*Carolina is 8-2-2 in its last 12 games overall against Buffalo, including 5-1-1 in the last seven.
*During the two meetings this season, Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera has one goal and four points against his old team.
*The Sabres will start goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who is 4-1-1 with a 2.57 goals-against average against the Hurricanes.
*Drew Stafford, who scored the Sabres’ lone goal on Tuesday, has eight goals and 14 points in his last 15 games.
*Tyler Ennis has seven assists and 11 points in his last 12 games and eight goals and 19 points in his last 22 games. Ennis has a point in each of his last three games against Carolina.