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NOTEBOOK: UNSTOPPABLE STOPPER

Friday, 10.19.2007 / 11:09 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: UNSTOPPABLE STOPPER
Goaltender Ryan Miller
Think Ryan Miller is a good shootout goaltender?  Well, he's even better when it comes to penalty shots.

When the spotlight has shone the brightest, Miller has been at his best.  The East Lansing, MI native has turned away the oppositions last five attempts, setting a new franchise record for consecutive penalty shot stops. 


RELATED LINKS
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Photo: Blue Jackets 3, Sabres 0










Midway through the second period of Buffalo's 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, Miller added Rich Nash to his list of one-on-one victims.  A brief that includes Philadelphia's Mike Richards, Ottawa's Jason Spezza and Minnesota's Marian Gaborik.

Hauled down by Henrik Tallinder on a questionable breakaway to earn the opportunity, Nash deked and fired a wristshot from 18 feet that Miller nonchalantly kicked away to the boards.

"With Nash, he has a really long reach and does a really good job with moves," said Miller, who has never been beaten in a penalty shot during his career. "I just wanted to get a jump on him and show him that I could stay with him. 

"I kind of just read the situation.  He was going to try to make me go back.  He can't skate around me, unless he makes a real nice move, so I just had to stay on that."

"He's pretty confident, he's obviously quick and he's pretty big in the net," said Derek Roy of Miller's strengths in stopping one-on-one situations.  "When you come down on him, you really don't see much because he covers so much of the net.  He's very patient also, which gives shooters a tough time."

Miller's steadfastness in those types of situations has led Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff to maybe a reevaluation of some strategies when a man down.

"It bothers me when we give up that situation, period," said Ruff of the breakaway.  "But I think the odds are in our favor when we give a guy one shot instead of letting [a power play] throw it around and fire pucks five-on-three, which is sometimes not a very kind situation for your goaltender."

Miller is halfway to the NHL's record for consecutive stops (9) held by Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.  Travis Green, then a member of the Boston Bruins, was Miller's very first penalty-combatant in the 2005-06 season. Nash's penalty shot was the 43rd against the Sabres in franchise history.



After the Sabres first win of the regular season on Oct. 11, Ruff tackled one of hockey's biggest cliches. 

"It's always nice to play at home," commented Ruff concerning Buffalo's four-game home stand, "the kicker is that you have to win. If you're at home and you're not winning, you usually say it's nice to go on the road and bring the team together."

Buffalo bounced back from back-to-back loses to open the season by claiming six out of eight points in the team's next four: a 6-0 shutout against Atlanta on Oct. 11; a 7-3 victory over Washington two days later; and a 5-4 overtime win on Monday against arch-rival Toronto.

The team will now build a little chemistry with five-consecutive road games, including a four-day roadtrip down to the Southeast Division, to finish October.  Buffalo will start things off in Montreal on Saturday night and won't return to the comfortable confines of HSBC Arena until Nov. 2 when they face the Florida Panthers.



Former Buffalo prospect Jan Hejda found out exactly what kind of cannon Ales Kotalik possesses in the first period of Friday night's match-up.  Clogging the shooting lane, Hejda innocently extended to block the right winger's one-timer from the left point.  Puck and stick met, and Hejda's twig was snapped in half.

Lesson learned.



Congratulations to Rob Murphy, who won the Sabres Emcee contest.  Murphy defeated Earl Leatherland in the finals to become the new in-game host for the Buffalo Sabres.  Voting was conducted on Sabres.com starting last Tuesday.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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