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Miller Backstops Sabres Win

Saturday, 03.03.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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Miller Backstops Sabres Win
The Buffalo Sabres offense has been a goaltender's worst nightmare over the past two weeks, scoring 31 goals in the team's last five games. But it was goaltender Ryan Miller's performance in Buffalo's 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs that may make opposing teams lose sleep.

Showcasing their firepower of late, it was Miller who negated Toronto's attack and proved the Sabres can hold a late lead. The 26-year-old netminder stopped 26-of-27 shots as Buffalo improved to 4-2-0 against their bitter Northeast Division rivals this season.

"They had their chances and we had ours," said Toni Lydman. "It's thanks to Mr. Miller making huge saves for us again [that Buffalo won]."

"Our goalie made some timely saves," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "You need that. You need key saves at key times, and you need key goals at key times."

Miller held Toronto without a goal for nearly 57 minutes before being beaten by Nik Antropov at 16:50 of the third. He's 6-1-1 in his past eight starts and is boasting a three-game winning streak.

"He's been playing solid for us all season long," Lydman said. "It gives you confidence to have a guy that makes the saves for you all night, every night."

Toronto and Buffalo will finish the season series with a home-and-home in late March that could have serious implications on the Leafs playoff status.

Toronto limited the Sabres opportunities with a conservative style in the first period but the Buffalo attack broke through in the second as the two teams traded chances.

"You look at the second period, we had seven or eight really good opportunities that we missed," said Ruff.

Jean-Sebastien Aubin made three consecutive saves before being beaten by a long, point shot from Lydman at 4:52 of the second to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead.

A defensive defenseman, Lydman is in the midst of a rare scoring spurt. The goal is his second of the season - first since Dec. 21 at Nashville - and extends his points scoring streak to three games (1+3).

"I knew it hit something," joked Lydman. "One of there guys, one of our guys, it didn't matter. I don't get that too often as you may have noticed.

"I get chances to score a lot. I just don’t goals a lot."

Rookie Mark Mancari, who replaced injured enforcer Andrew Peters (upper body), registered his first career point with the second assist on his first shift of the game.

The NHL's highest scoring team during the second period, the tally gave Buffalo their 100th score during the middle frame this season.

Fourth time was a charm as Buffalo increased its lead to a pair on the power play after failing to score on their first three.

Brian Campbell spotted Drew Stafford curling around the net and hit the rookie with a perfect pass for the deflection, giving Buffalo the 2-0 lead with two minutes remaining in the second.

The power-play goal is Stafford's sixth of the season and third in as many games. Stafford is currently in the midst of a three game scoring streak (3+1) and has nine points (3+6) in seven games since being recalled from Rochester on Feb. 16.

"I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself," said Ruff concerning whether or not Stafford will stay in Buffalo from now on. "He's definitely made a case for staying in the NHL. He's played very soundly, been very reliable, and has had some timely goals."

"With the bigger opportunity, he's been able to flourish."

The second assist gave Jochen Hecht eight points (2+6) in his last four games.

Daniel Briere fed Nathan Paetsch cutting down the slot, where the defenseman scored his first career goal with a slapshot to make the score 3-0 at 16:18 of the third.
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Quotes and audio courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.
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SCORING SHEETS
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82