Hours after Sabres general manager Tim Murray said he was
attempting to trade his star before the trade deadline, Miller made
36 saves to lead Buffalo to an improbable 3-2 win over the Carolina
Hurricanes on Tuesday.
The Sabres were outshot 31-10 through 45 minutes and 38-18 overall.
Miller also collected two assists in the win.
"I wasn't really getting too far ahead or thinking about that kind
of stuff," Miller said. "The best thing I can do is just continue to
play my game and try to play at a high level and prepare. Either
way, I'm helping the Sabres, or if they feel like it's an
opportunity to trade me, I need to help somebody else."
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan had high praise after watching his
goalie steal two points for his team.
"It just shows what kind of goaltender we have in Ryan Miller, and
how important goaltending is," Nolan said. "I don't think we had too
much reason to say we were a better team tonight outside of Ryan
Miller stealing that game for us."
Miller is in the last year of his contract and is set to become an
unrestricted free agent this summer. That makes it likely he'll be
on his way out of Buffalo with the Sabres (16-34-8) in last place in
Murray said before the game that a trade would likely be best for
both the Sabres and the veteran goaltender. Miller has a save
percentage of .923 this season.
"It's tough to kind of correlate seeing what they're going to do and
what they can do, and what I might need to do for my career," Miller
said. "I don't want to close anything off right now, but I know
they're kind of looking around for an opportunity. I think that's
probably the best for everybody."
Despite the disparity in shots and offensive chances, the Sabres
rallied against the Hurricanes (26-23-9) with a late goal from
defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who scored twice on the evening.
Ehrhoff netted the game-winner with 43.4 seconds remaining.
Ehrhoff put forth a terrific effort on the winning goal. The
defenseman skated into the Carolina zone and around the net before
putting the puck in the crease. It deflected off a Carolina
defenseman and into the Hurricanes net to give Buffalo a late 3-2
"Sometimes the hockey gods are good to you," Ehrhoff said. "I had
Marcus (Foligno) on the back door there and just got a lucky bounce
in and obviously it was a big goal in the last minute."
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Ehrhoff also scored in the second period for Buffalo, and center
Tyler Ennis scored in the third.
"(Miller) was 99 percent of that one," Ennis said. "We've gotta tip
our hat to the guys that competed. We battled and got the win but
Miller pretty much got us that one."
Right winger Alexander Semin and center Eric Staal scored for the
Hurricanes, who were disappointed to come up short after having the
upper hand throughout most of the game.
"Definitely it's big," defenseman Jiri Tlusty said. "We are kind of
giving away points and it's not good. We have to make sure we're
playing 60 minutes right and finish the game. It would be a big one
point and you never know what's going to happen in overtime but it
would be a big point for us to even grab the tie. We just have to
find a way."
Cam Ward, making his first start since Dec. 31 due to a lower-body
injury, made 15 saves.
"I'm sure he probably would like to have a couple of those shots
back because we had a solid game there," Carolina coach Kirk Muller
Semin tied the game at 2 on a pretty wrist shot from the high slot
with four minutes remaining. Semin beat Miller on the goalie's glove
Ennis made it 2-1 with 7:43 remaining with a sprawling effort. After
two Sabres shots were stopped by Ward, the puck came to a standstill
inches from the goal line. Ennis came diving in from the left side
of the ice and pushed the puck into the net for his 14th goal of the
Staal tied the game at 1 on a low wrist shot with 3:08 remaining in
the second period. It was Staal's 15th goal of the season.
Ehrhoff opened the scoring 5:54 into the second period with a blast
from the point on the power play. Ehrhoff's shot appeared to deflect
off a player in front of the Carolina net and had just enough pace
to trickle past the goal line.
NOTES: Prior to the game, Sabres GM Tim Murray had this to say about
Miller: "The route we're looking at is to get value for him, to put
him in a position to succeed," Murry said. "Our goal right now, I
think on both sides, is to pursue a proper trade." ... This game,
which was the first NHL game since the end of the Winter Olympics,
was rescheduled from Jan. 7 due to a snowstorm. Four games are
scheduled for Wednesday and there are 12 games around the league
Friday. ... D Mike Komisarek, C Elias Lindholm and G Justin Peters
were scratched for the Hurricanes. ... D Henrik Tallinder and C
Zenon Konopka were scratched for the Sabres. ... This was the second
of three meetings between the two teams this season. The final
meeting will take place March 13 at Carolina.
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