Delayed Overreactions, 64th Edition: Miller fends off circling Sharks

We’ve seen games like this before.

Sure, they were 15 years ago and Dominik Hasek was in net, but it’s the same thing. A Sabres team struggles offensively and their goaltender stands on his face and steals a game. Just like the good old days, right?

A first period Drew Stafford goal was all that Ryan Miller needed to get the surging Sabres another two points, as Buffalo stole a 1-0 win in San Jose.

Miller made 39 stops for his second straight shutout. He was the first star and the story of the night.

“It’s unbelievable to see a guy be this good in net,” forward Tyler Ennis said. “You never think a guy can be that good and make that many saves, but he does.”

The Sabres grabbed the lead thanks to a quick counterattack from the dynamic line of Stafford, Ennis and newbie Cody Hodgson. A turnover in the neutral zone by San Jose’s Brent Burns created a chance for Ennis to find Stafford streaking into the slot, where he blew one past Antti Niemi.

Miller made all the saves necessary to make that goal stand up, include withstanding a third period barrage where the Sharks outshot Buffalo 17-5.

  • Was that review near the end of the second period the most unnecessary review ever? The puck wasn’t even close to being in. What a waste of time.
  • Really like the whole Ennis-Stafford-Hodgson line already. Fun to watch, they do such a good job keeping possession in the offensive zone. There’s some chemistry there.
  • Not too worried about the fact that Thomas Vanek has just one goal in his last seven games. Or that Jason Pominville has no points in the last four, a season worst. The rest of the team is picking it up. Should the goaltending falter and they remain off the scoresheet… then you panic. Wins are wins are wins.
  • Eventually they’re going to have to get out of this “sit back and defend in the third” habit they seem to be perfecting. That team does not win that game if the Sharks tie it up. The momentum swing would be so huge in that situation, the Sharks would keep digging away. It’s a quicksand situation. For a team that has such a tenuous outlook as this does, they gotta learn that killer instinct and how to run away from teams as much as they need to play good defense.
  • Anyone else figuratively shit their pants when Miller got hurt in the third period? Punch in the gut moment.
  • If I’m the New York Rangers, the one potential first round opponent I don’t want to see is the Sabres. Each team from 8-15 in the East has their flaws, but no one on any of those teams can have the dramatic impact on a series like Ryan Miller can.
  • The Christian Ehrhoff battle with Patrick Marleau in front of the Buffalo net in the third is the kind of thing that gets let go in the playoffs, but never escalates to that point without a call during the regular season. Blown away that it didn’t get let go.
  • Andrej Sekera has been in beast mode lately. Can’t avoid saying it. He gets beat down too much by fans.
  • Robyn Regehr left with injury after taking an awkward hit into the boards in the second. The defense was able to remain strong, which I can’t say I’d expect of them in a game like that. Impressive.
  • Back to the playoffs talk, these last two games are the kind of games that, should they get in, they’re going to have to play to get any wins. Finish a chance or two, and play smart. They aren’t going to win many loose and back-and-forth games. Look at the Philly series last year. Miller’s gonna have to steal games.
  • This Ville Leino-at-center thing isn’t exactly a rousing success, yet again. The impact of Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe is something the team sacrificed in the Gaustad deal. It’s still worth it, but a side effect.
  • Can we have more 10pm or later starts please? I’m totally cool with staying up late. The past two games have been pretty fun between the activity on twitter and the whole winning thing. I’m convinced fans can get more excited for odd start times than a regular old 7pm start. Sure, it is partly novelty. But I’d dig some more 1pm starts too.
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Posted on March 3, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. …. But then LOSE again because they have to return to Buffalo. I think Hodgson’s reaction when being dealt to a crap hole like Buffalo pretty much tells the story. Vancouver to Buffalo… Ouch.

    I read your little story that inspired you to write. Inspired by an allegation of gang rape?You must be quite a guy. Maybe you should get out of Dad’s basement, get a job and try to rescue the nearly third world economy you guys have going on down there.

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