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Kaleta vows he will face Flyers in Game Four

Patrick Kaleta was back on the ice Tuesday wearing a cage to protect his face area. Which means what? That he sprained a big toe? That his shoulder aches? That he's borrowing a page from the Jordan Leopold book on postseason deception?

Kaleta crashed into the boards and left Game Three for good in the first period Monday night with what the team termed the old and nebulous "upper-body injury."

"Nothing happened to my face," Kaleta laughed. "Just battling that cold with that runny nose and that sore throat. You know?"

And to think some people resort to over-the-counter medication.

Kaleta vowed he'll be back in the lineup for Game Four tonight although the Sabres have recalled Mark Mancari, who also practiced Tuesday.

"Pumped up, actually," Kaleta said. "I didn't get to waste too much energy yesterday so it's all built up and I'm ready to get back right on the right path."

How did he feel Tuesday night?

"Well, did I come back? No? Well I'm back today so I feel a lot better today."

And will he wear the cage tonight?

"I don't know. We'll see."

What ails Kaleta? Who knows? Nothing is as it's made to seem in the playoffs. Leopold said on Sunday that he wasn't close to returning from a hand fracture and then dressed Monday.

Meanwhile, neither Mike Grier nor Tyler Ennis practiced. Coach Lindy Ruff said they received a "maintenance day."

Mike Richards was given the day off by the Flyers.

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Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on his play in the series and Monday's goals by Jeff Carter, Danny Briere and Nikolay Zherdev:

"I've made my mistakes. It's been good and bad I guess. I haven't felt too far off on the games we've lost. I've gotten scored on a few times where I'd like to make adjustments. But even last night, a shot goes off a stick, it's really tough to catch up to that one. You got to shake it off and move forward.

"The next two, yeah, I can make some adjustments. I can maybe go harder on Hartnell so he doesn't get to the front of the net and get an opportunity to get it to Danny. And the next one I could have sat back and been a little more patient and sat back knowing Richards has options."

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Trash talking between former teammates Miller and Briere? Ha!

"It's all fluff coming from him after the amount of years that we've known each other," Miller said. "You can't automatically hit a light switch and be a hard-ass to me. I respect his talent and he respects what I try and do out there and we try to get the better of each other. When he gets the better of me though it's the headline."

Briere on being macho:

"I never pretend to be anyways. There hasn't been much discussion out there. We're competitors that are trying to let our play do the talking more than anything."

***

It used to be easy to coax Scott Hartnell, the Flyers hulking winger, into a retaliatory penalty or two. It's no longer quite that simple. For instance, Hartnell showed admirable restraint when he was repeatedly cross-checked by Mike Weber while on his knees covering the puck in Game Three.

"I think Scott's playing really hard right now," said Flyer coach Peter Laviolette. "I like his line. I think he does good things for Danny and that line. Everybody brings a little bit something different and his is the physicality of it, and the forechecking

"He's done a pretty good job with his discipline in his scrums. He hasn't reacted. It would have been easy last night to get up after he got cross-checked in the back seven or eight times in a row and punched somebody in the head and he didn't."

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Laviolette on the boos that still shadow Briere at HSBC Arena:

"Anytime you go into an old building and you start to have success there's always a ... I think they like Danny. He's a good guy and he did well in Buffalo for them."

email: bdicesare@buffnews.com

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