BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo Sabres will be without starting goalie Ryan Miller and centre Tim Connolly for their home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
Both have groin injuries and were ruled out by coach Lindy Ruff after practice Tuesday. Ruff said Miller is close to returning after the goalie practised for a second straight day.
“He’s real close, but I don’t think he’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” Ruff said, after consulting with Miller.
Miller will miss his second straight game after playing through the injury during the third period of a 4-2 win over Los Angeles on Friday. Miller had gone 3-1 after missing six games with a hip injury.
“Today was a step forward. I’m not quite there yet,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to be cautious now, knowing that I’m not that far off.”
The Sabres (8-11-3) play three games in four nights through Saturday and are expected to recall goalie Jhonas Enroth from their AHL affiliate in Portland.
Connolly’s status is uncertain after he was hurt during practice Monday. Ruff said it could take three or four days to determine a timetable for his return.
Before he was hurt in practice, Connolly was spotted with a black eye. Ruff said the black eye happened on Sunday, while Connolly was practising a routine he was scheduled to perform during Miller’s annual charitable event in Buffalo.
“It’s fairly funny,” Ruff said. “It has nothing to do with fighting. It has something to do with what he was trying to practise for part of the program. And he wasn’t very good at it, obviously.”
Connolly was not available to reporters on Monday or Tuesday.
Ruff was in a better mood after he erupted at his team for botching a power-play drill during practice. Ruff was so incensed he flung his stick high into the air, bouncing it off the glass 20 yards behind him, and then launched into a profanity-laced tirade.
“I just chose to get my point across,” Ruff said, before joking he nearly separated his shoulder by throwing his stick. “I think a little bit of complacency in that drill bothered me because our power play was making strides.”
The Sabres are 1-2 in their past three games after enjoying a 4-0-1 stretch. Their power play has been inconsistent at best in going 11 of 86 for a 12.8 conversion rate that ranks 26th in the league.