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Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller looks on during NHL hockey training camp in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

David Duprey

Ryan Miller is conveniently ready to return to action tonight against the Leafs.

Convenient, for one, in that Miller almost never loses to Toronto, with a career 22-8-0 record, .930 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average when facing Buffalo's Northeast Division rival.

His team, meanwhile, could sure use something resembling a guaranteed win night after an 8-12-3 start to the season that has the Sabres sitting in 12th in the Eastern Conference after finishing third a year ago.

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Miller has started only 14 of Buffalo's 23 games this season due to various minor injuries. After winning a silver medal at the Olympics and then the Vezina Trophy in June, he struggled early this year but has been better his last four starts, posting a .922 save percentage in November after only a .903 in 10 October starts.

"It's been an interesting month as far as nagging things," Miller said. "It's something I've never really had in my career. I've been prety resilient unless it's been something major. But back to back, a couple of things popped up in the past month that I've had to address. Just had to get to the point where I felt it was 100 per cent and there wasn't a chance it would be something I would sustain for the rest of the season."

Miller's injuries have been all over the map. He said he's struggled with knee, hip and groin problems and "it's all been interconnected."

Coach Lindy Ruff, however, said he expects Miller will play both tonight and then tomorrow in Montreal, taking on back-to-back games after sitting out the past two.

The other good news on the injury front for the Sabres is the fact Derek Roy will be able to play after dealing with a migraine issue and a minor elbow injury. Buffalo's health scratches tonight will be captain Craig Rivet and defenceman Chris Butler.

The rumour at the rink today is that Rivet may be in jeopardy of losing the captaincy after sitting several times of late.

The Leafs have an ugly 27-54-6-2 all-time record in Buffalo. Toronto is taking the ice here at HSBC Arena shortly for the morning skate and I'll have an update from the Leafs side afterwards.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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