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NOTEBOOK: MILLER TAKES SHUTOUT STREAK TO BOSTON

Monday, 12.06.2010 / 1:28 PM / News
By Rob Crean  - Public Relations Director
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NOTEBOOK: MILLER TAKES SHUTOUT STREAK TO BOSTON
The Sabres returned to practice on Monday after sweeping back-to-back games over Columbus and Ottawa this weekend.  Ryan Miller posted shutouts in both games, giving him two shutouts on the season and 19 for his career. 

Miller surpassed Martin Biron for second place on the franchise’s all-time shutouts list with his 1-0 shootout blanking of Ottawa on Saturday and now trails only Dominik Hasek (55 career shutouts for Buffalo) for most shutouts by a Sabres netminder.

Miller was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week on the strength of his back-to-back shutouts.

After missing two games with a lower body injury on Nov. 20 and Nov. 24, Miller seems to have returned to the form that earned him last year’s Vezina Trophy.  In four games since returning from his injury, the goaltender has posted a 3-1-0 record with a 0.99 goals against average and a .967 save percentage to go along with his two shutouts.  He has also moved into the top 10 among NHL goalies in goals against average (2.26) and save percentage (.922) on the season.  Miller credited his recent success to full-team efforts by the Sabres.

“I think it’s a case of the whole team playing better,” said Miller.  “Everybody is starting to approach a place where we’re on the same page, so I really think that goaltending is an absolute team position.”

Miller and the Sabres have not allowed a goal in the last 148:14 dating back to the second period of the Nov. 27 game at Montreal.  

“The good goalies, once they get in a groove, the puck starts looking like a basketball,” Lindy Ruff said when asked about Miller’s hot streak.  “When it’s going bad, (the puck) looks like a marble.”



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Following today’s practice, the Sabres traveled to Boston for tomorrow’s meeting with the Bruins.  It will be the second meeting of the season between the teams and the first in Boston.  The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto on Saturday and currently sit in second place in the Northeast Division with a 14-8-3 record. 

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who leads the NHL in goals against average (1.46), save percentage (.956) and shutouts (5), will pose a challenge in the crease opposite of Miller.  The two goaltenders, who were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team earlier this year, have combined to win each of the last two Vezina Trophies.

“He’s a battler, and there’s no way you’re gonna see him sit back and just wait to play,” Miller said of his Boston counterpart.  “He’s gonna push, he’s gonna push hard.  I’m happy to see he’s healthy because he’s a great guy and if he wasn’t in my division I’d cheer for him a little harder.” 
 


On the injury front, forwards Tim Connolly and Rob Niedermayer, who have both missed the last five games, participated in Monday’s practice in limited roles.  Niedermayer underwent an arthroscopic knee procedure on Nov. 22.  That same day, Connolly left practice after injuring his groin.  There is no timetable on a return for either player, although Ruff said they were beginning to ramp up the intensity of Connolly’s workouts.

Drew Stafford, meanwhile, left Monday’s practice early.  The forward had returned to the lineup for Friday’s game after missing 11 straight contests with an injury.  He picked up a goal and an assist in the 5-0 win over Columbus, but was scratched Saturday at Ottawa.   

“He’s suffering a little bit upper body-wise, so I just decided to get him off the ice.  I’m going to say the likelihood right now is no,” Ruff said when asked if Stafford would be able to play tomorrow in Boston. 

Shaone Morrisonn played only 6:30 at Ottawa on Saturday due to what Ruff termed a “neck issue.”  Ruff added that Morrisonn has been examined by the team doctors and should be available to play tomorrow. 

SCHEDULE

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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