The bizarro lineup the Buffalo Sabres fielded Tuesday in Pittsburgh lasted just one game. The trio of Portland Pirates who took the ice are all back in the minors after the 3-1 loss to the Penguins.
The Sabres looked like the team that has charged up the standings when they practiced Wednesday in Boston University's glitzy Agganis Arena. So aside from Patrick Kaleta, back home nursing his knee injury, they should be at full strength for their final meeting of the season with the Boston Bruins.
Luke Adam, Mark Mancari and Mark Parrish are gone. Thomas Vanek (flu), Jochen Hecht (upper body) and Mike Grier (groin) all skated fully Wednesday and plan to be on the TD Garden ice tonight.
Still, the Sabres aren't blaming their absence for the loss in Pittsburgh. Buffalo had a 1-0 lead and 15 shots on goal after the first period but took eight penalties in the game and never got much offense going after the opening 20 minutes.
"The game was right there for us. We just talked about it on the ice here," coach Lindy Ruff said after practice. "If you're going to take eight penalties, many nights you don't have much of a chance to win a hockey game. We proved in the first period we had good energy. I thought we skated well. I don't think it had anything to do with energy. It had a little bit to do with focus."
Vanek had plenty of energy in his homecoming game Sunday in Minnesota but was felled afterward by a wicked stomach flu. He didn't leave the team hotel in Pittsburgh until Tuesday evening, when it was time to catch the plane to Boston.
Sabres will sport familiar look
Buffalo News | Mar 10