|PHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|BUF||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
Former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Martin Biron currently has the Philadelphia Flyers on the winning track. The same can't be said for the goalie who took Biron's starting spot with his old team.
The once-dependable Ryan Miller has been struggling, and the Sabres have slumped of late as they head into Friday's home matchup with the resurgent Flyers.
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Miller started the season 7-1-1 and recorded consecutive shutouts of Washington and Philadelphia, but has allowed 22 goals in his last five starts while going 1-3-1.
As Miller has faltered, so has Buffalo (9-6-3), which is 1-4-1 in its last six. The Sabres opened the season 6-0-2.
The low point for the Sabres and their goalie came in Wednesday's 7-4 loss at Boston. Miller allowed six goals in the first two periods as the Bruins twice rallied from two-goal deficits. He was lifted after giving up the seventh goal 1:16 into the third.
The goal total tied a career high for Miller, who lost 7-2 to Detroit on Dec. 10, 2003.
"I have to find ways to get in the way, stop some pucks," said Miller, whose goals-against average has risen from 1.62 to 2.61. "We just have to get over the hump."
If recent history is any indication, Miller and Buffalo could get back in the win column versus the Flyers. Miller is 5-0-1 with a 2.60 GAA in his last six starts versus Philadelphia, and the Sabres are 11-4-1 with one tie in their last 17 meetings with the Flyers.
Buffalo leading scorer Thomas Vanek cooled off briefly after recording 12 goals in his first 13 games, but he's started to regain his touch. He scored twice against Boston and has three goals in the last two games, although he has just five goals in 18 games versus Philadelphia.
Buffalo's Jason Pominville and Derek Roy have been much better against the Flyers. Pominville has eight goals and seven assists in 11 career matchups, while Roy has recorded six goals in his last eight games against Philadelphia.
Pominville has a four-game goal streak and 10 points in his last eight games, including a goal and two assists Wednesday.
While Buffalo has been struggling, streaky Philadelphia (7-6-4) has gone 3-0-1 in its last four games over a six-day span. The Flyers opened 0-3-3, then won four in a row and lost three straight before their current run.
"To get seven out of eight points is exactly what we needed," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "We needed to help ourselves."
Biron and Antero Niittymaki have combined to allow 11 goals in the last five games. Biron, who started 273 games in nine seasons with Buffalo, has lowered his GAA from 3.79 to 3.12 in winning two of his last three starts. Niittymaki has also won two of his last three, most recently defeating Atlanta 4-3 on Sunday.
Biron is scheduled to start Friday, and has gone 2-2-1 with a 3.88 GAA against his former team.
Simon Gagne, among the NHL leaders with 11 goals and 22 points, has a point in every game but one this season and recorded a goal and an assist Sunday. He has 18 goals and 17 assists in 42 meetings with Buffalo.
|Mar 20 '09||PHI 6 at BUF 4||M. Knuble|
|Mar 10 '09||BUF 2 at PHI 5||M. Richards|
|Feb 19 '09||BUF 3 at PHI 6||M. Knuble|
|Nov 21 '08||PHI 3 at BUF 0||S. Hartnell|