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23 March 2007

Heard from the Rafters

News and Notes:

- Lindy Ruff was quoted yesterday on WGR 550 saying that when Max Afinigenov, Ales Kotalik and Tim Connolly return they will not automatically supplant anyone from the team's top three lines. He stated that he will not break up the Briere or Roy lines and that Danius Zubrus and Chris Drury had developed a nice chemistry he was loathe to mess with. He then stated that the three could likely form a 4th line.

- The Sabres, in the midst of a 5-game unbeaten streak, face the Leafs in back-to-back games this weekend. They maintain a 5 point lead on Ottawa for first in the conference with two games in hand on the Senators. If the Sabres sweep the weekend set it appears likely they will all but seal up 1st overall in the Eastern Conference.

- On a side note, Leafs defenseman Thomas Kaberle is expected to play tonight for the Leafs. It will be his first game since being hit from the blindside in New Jersey.

- Ryan Miller has appeared noticeably sharper in the last two games. It is expected he will play both games this weekend.

- Danny Briere scored his 30th goal of the season Wednesday night against the Capitals. He marked the 4th Sabre to reach the 30 goal plateau. The others are Chris Drury, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.

On the Injury Front:

Dan Paille - Lindy Ruff is quoted as saying Paille needs to get a few conditioning practices in prior to his return. It is expected he will be available by midweek.

Toni Lydman - Skated with the team Thursday. He appears to be about a week away from returning his upper body injury which many believe was a concussion.

Ales Kotalik - He is also skating with the team and could be a week away.

Max Afinigenov - No definitive timetable has been announced but appears he could return for the last few games of the regular season.

Tim Connolly - Has begun skating with the team. Lindy Ruff appears hopeful for a return about the same time as Afinigenov but has been unwilling to set a time frame.

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