Lindy Ruff didn't feel well Thursday, his voice gravelly as the Sabres' coach struggled through a bug of some sort. As much of a nuisance as the illness was, it's nothing compared to the suffering Daniel Alfredsson has inflicted on him.

The Ottawa captain is a legendary Sabre killer. He has 41 goals and 81 points in 80 career games against Buffalo. He's celebrated hat tricks and victories since coming into the NHL in 1995.

"He's been a real pain to us over the years," Ruff said in First Niagara Center. "He's a good player, and I still think he's a good player. If they get him back, they're getting a good piece back."

They're getting him back. Alfredsson is set to return to the Senators' lineup tonight in Buffalo, his first appearance since suffering a concussion Oct. 29.

"I'm expecting myself to be back and ready to go," Alfredsson told reporters in Ottawa. "I'm not going to be cautious. You've got to be aware at all times on the ice. I've said that before and it's the same. If you don't feel you're ready, then you shouldn't start playing again. I feel confident in my reaction time and whatnot, so I'll just try to play as normal."

The Senators could use the boost from their 38-year-old star, who has four goals and seven points in 10 games. They're 0-3-1 in their last four, including Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss at home to the Sabres. It's just the latest streak for the Sens, who followed a 1-5 start with six straight victories.