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Lucic hit on Miller overshadows 6-2 loss to Bruins

Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 8:51 PM ET / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow)
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BOSTON --- It was one of those nights when the numbers on the scoreboard were almost irrelevant to the Buffalo Sabres when the game was over. A 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins was overshadowed by a Milan Lucic hit delivered on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, and Miller’s eventual departure from the game with a neck injury.

With 6:48 remaining in the first period and the Sabres leading 1-0, the puck was sent into the Buffalo zone out of the reach of Lucic. When Miller came out of his net to play the puck, Lucic made contact with his head in the slot area, driving his mask off in the process. Lucic was assessed a minor penalty for charging, and Miller was left stunned in his crease.

Miller stayed in the game, but was also involved in a collision late in the period when Tyler Seguin landed on top of him in the crease after a hit by Ville Leino.

Boston went on to score three second period goals, and Miller didn’t return to the ice for the third period with what was called an upper body injury at the time. Jhonas Enroth finished the game, allowing three goals on 13 shots.

Everyone in [Boston] sees him as this big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless. - Ryan Miller on the Lucic hit
Miller was in street clothes when reporters arrived in Buffalo’s locker room after the game. When asked about the status of his injury, Miller spoke only of the hit by Lucic.

“Fifty pounds on me and he runs me like that?” said a visibly upset Miller. “Unbelievable. Everyone in [Boston] sees him as this big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless.”

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was very matter of fact in his opinion of the play.

“I thought it was a major,” Ruff stated. “If it’s open season on the goalies, then let’s get at it.”


NOTES: Thomas Vanek opened the scoring with his team-leading 11th goal of the season. He also leads the league with five “first goals” of the game … Marc-Andre Gragnani picked up his first goal of the season when scored at 13:20 of the third period … Buffalo’s power play was one-for-four, and they killed off all four Bruins man advantage situations.

6:31- Good evening from the TD Garden in Boston!

6:33- We had some technical difficulties getting things going tonight, so let's just cut right to the chase ... any questions?

6:33- Comment From Johan: Starting goalie for Sabres?

6:34- Ryan Miller led the team out for warmups. That means he's starting

6:34- Comment From Jack: Weber sitting again?

6:34- 7 d-men out for warmups - not sure at this point

6:34- Comment From Andrew: Ennis sitting again

6:35- Yes -- he's skating lightly. No updates on his return yet

6:35- Comment From Matt: Best goaltending situation in the League. Two premier goaltenders. Do you agree?

6:35- It's a good problem to have, especially with the number of b2b games the Sabres play. Having a fresh goalie on the second night is clutch

6:35- Comment From Erin: Do you know when Hecht is expected to play again?

6:36- Hecht skated today, but I haven't heard any updates lately.

6:36- Comment From Brian K: Keys for a Sabres victory tonight?

6:37- A quick start to take out a loud building ...

6:38- Comment From håkkis: is Kaleta playing?

6:38- Yes he is

6:38- Comment From Guest: I have one important question... If both goalies go into a shootout tied at 0-0 do both goalies get a shut-out a-piece...?

6:39- Each goalie is credited with a shutout - but one is tagged with a Shootout Loss. It happened to Sabres in Ottawa recently

6:39- Comment From Brian: Will Kaleta try to be more cautious after the suspension?

6:40- He has a certain style of play that can't be dialed down. That said, I think Pat knows his limitations

6:41- Comment From Erin: Is Nathan Gerbe playing?

6:41- Yes -- tonight is his 100th career NHL game

6:41- Comment From Erin: How is Mcormick's eye after the fight with the Winipeg player?

6:41- It looks worse than it is. Cody is a tough kid.

6:42- Quick question -- where is everyone following the blog from tonight?

6:43- Comment From Saša: Riga, Latvia

6:43- Comment From Matt: Amherst, NY!

6:43- Comment From dennis: germany !

6:43- Comment From JudieSparkles: Alexandria, VA

6:44- Comment From Blaise: Florida

6:44- Comment From Susan: Following from Brooklyn!

6:44- Comment From ted: duluth,mn

6:44- Comment From Greg: Hampton Va. checking in

6:44- Comment From TG22: Ormond Beach FL!

6:44- Comment From Guest: winnipeg

6:44- Comment From Justin: who's commentating on this trip?

6:44- RJ and Harry are on MSG tonight. Monday's game in Montreal is on Versus.

6:44- Comment From mannheim 68: mannheim , germany

6:44- Comment From Guest: Knoxville,TN

6:45- Comment From Daniel: Austria

6:46- Comment From Brian: The Sabres scored back-to-back goals last night 16 seconds apart. Whats the fastest time they have ever scored back-to-back goals in?

6:46- 4 seconds by Don Luce and Lee Fogolin in 1974

6:48- OK folks -- its almost game time. Thanks for the chat. Stick around for live game coverage.

6:56- Sabres looking to win 5 straight tonight for the first time since January 2010 -- that was part of a 6-game streak from Dec. 27/09-Jan.8/10

7:02- Sabres starters: Ehrhoff/Gragnani ... Gerbe/Gaustad/McCormick ... Miller

7:02- PA announcer introduced McCormick as starting on D, and Gragnani playing wing. Don't think Lindy would make that move.

7:03- Weber/Ennis scratched for Buffalo

7:03- Tim Thomas in net for Boston.

7:04- Paille/Ference/Pouliot scratched for the B's.

7:05- Thornton/Kelly/Peverly starting on forward for Boston. Maybe some first shift hijinx could be in order??...

7:11- Classy move by the Bruins. The parents of a US soldier are brought out to drop the ceremonial faceoff ... and are surprised with their son joining them on the ice. They haven't seen him in 7 months.

7:11- Game on!

7:13- There are a lot of empty seats in the Garden tonight. Didn't expect that at all.

7:15- Kaleta on the ice for his first shift following the 4-game suspension. Playing the right side with Ellis and McCormick

7:16- Miller stops his first shot of the night, a 30-ft wrister from Peverly.

7:20- GOAL!

7:20- Vanek banks a shot off Thomas from behind the net to get the Sabres on the board. (5:38)

7:21- Great hustle by #26 to get his rebound off the missed shot and create the second chance goal.

7:22- Sabres are 7-2-0 this season when scoring first - Bruins are 3-5-0 when the opposition scores first

7:23- That was Vanek's league-leading 5th first-goal of a game.

7:25- Seguin bangs a shot off the iron, using some slick stick-handling to get into the slot.

7:26- Miller slides into position perfectly to stop the point blast from Chara

7:30- What a great pace to the game. Both teams trading rushes.

7:30- If anyone cares, I just had a cannoli from the press box dessert cart. Not bad. Then I had to remind myself that healthy changes everything.

7:31- 8:47 left in the 1st - Boston holding a slim 6-5 lead in shots, but the Sabres have the only one that counts so far.

7:34- This could get ugly! Lucic just ran into Miller and knocked his helmet off.

7:36- Lucic gets 2 mins for charging. Lots of talk between the benches now. Lindy Ruff is absolutely furious

7:41- 5:05 left

7:42- Miller taking matters into his own hands with Lucic, taking a few whacks at him in front of the net

7:45- Kaleta cuts to the net and gets rocked before he's able to get the shot off. With his history of head/neck trouble, you hate to see him hit like that

7:47- last minute of play, and Miller gets hit again. This time it was because Leino drove Seguin into the crease. Bruins on the PP as Leino goes for hooking

7:49- End of a very interesting 1st period. Sabres lead 1-0. Bruins hold 12-7 edge in shots.

8:06- Here we go for period 2!

8:10- The quick pace of the first frame has gone away. Plenty of whistles to start the 2nd.

8:13- Bruins testing Miller early but nothing dangerous.

8:15- Buffalo's first shot on net comes courtesy of Gragnani at the 6:00 mark.

8:18- Roy feeds Stafford on a 2-on-1, but the puck jumps as it hits #21's stick.

8:20- 1-1: Peverly caps off a very active shift by cutting in from the LW and sliding a shot past Miller (7:40)

8:23- Kaleta gives Thomas a little poke as he covers the puck, and McQuaid comes to his rescue.

8:29- Boyes flips a shot at Thomas that he handles easily. Then Gerbe finds himself as the center of attention in a scrum after the whistle.

8:32- Sabres with some better chances, incl a quick wrister from Stafford that Thomas had to be alert on

8:33- BOS 2-1: Marchand picks off Myers at the blueline, and feeds Seguin for the easy tap in. (13:29)

8:35- BOS 3-1: Horton sneaks in behind the Sabres D, and unloads a shot over Miller's right shoulder. (13:45)

8:42- 3:11 left in the 2nd.

8:44- McQuaid brings down Vanek just inside the blueline - 2 mins for hooking with 1:59 left in the period.

8:45- Vanek got drilled in the leg in front by the Myers shot and glides off gingerly to the Sabres bench

8:46- End of 2: Bruins score three times to take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room.

9:02- Enroth is in net for Buffalo.

9:04- Miller is not on the Buffalo bench

9:05- 3rd period underway

9:07- Don't see Vanek on Sabres bench either

9:09- Marchand fires a knuckler from the blueline that Enroth smothers

9:09- Vanek is on the ice now

9:10- Bruins nearly add a 4th goal but Enroth gets a piece of it at last second

9:12- BOS 4-1: All alone at the right side of the crease, Chris Kelly bangs home Boston's fourth goal of the night. (5:28)

9:14- BOS 5-1: Seguin pots his second of the night, roofing a shot over Enroth's outstretched glove.

9:19- Miller has an upper body injury

9:21- BOS 6-1: Marchand picks up the rebound in front and roofs a backhand over Enroth. (9:52)

9:27- Thomas flashes the leather with a nice grab off Ehrhoff's point shot.

9:27- 6-2: Gragnani beats Thomas with a slapshot to the far side (13:20)

9:29- Ehrhoff and Adam assist on Grag's first goal of the season.

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