Miller time on tap

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

The Maple Leafs will face Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller tomorrow night at HSBC Arena. It will be his first game since being hurt Feb. 21 against the New York Rangers. The Sabres were one point out of fifth in the Eastern Conference at the time Miller was hurt but are 4-7-2 since and are in 10th and five points out of the last playoff spot, including a win at home last night against Florida.

"It's a big boost," Sabres' head coach Lindy Ruff told reporters yesterday. "He surprised a few guys by his presence on Monday and the practice time on Tuesday was a lift for the team. It's tough to get by without your starting goaltender. You can miss key forwards, miss a defenceman, but you look at Ryan's win-loss record and the team's record when he's in there and that all speaks for itself."

Miller was having the best season of his career at the time of the injury, posting a 29-16-5 record with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Patrick Lalime has started 11 of the 12 games Miller has missed, going 3-6-2 with a 3.03 GAA and .904 save percentage. Last night's game against the visiting Florida Panthers was Mikael Tellqvist's second start.

Hagman ready to play

Forward Niklas Hagman was in fine form both on and off the ice yesterday. The Finnish forward, who suffered his second concussion of the season on Feb. 26, practised yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena and is confident that he will be able to play this weekend, perhaps tomorrow in Buffalo. If not, then on Saturday at home against the Boston Bruins.

"I feel absolutely normal, it has been three weeks since I've had a headache," Hagman said. "It was good to pass the (baseline test) to see that everything I have left in my head is still working. So, hopefully I'll play a couple of games."

Hagman has 37 points in 58 games.

"If I was to call it a season now and waited until next year's training camp to play my first games, I would go through the whole summer thinking 'Am I okay?' Now I get to play a couple of games and hopefully see that everything is fine," Hagman said.


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