It was like the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes played a doubleheader tonight at HSBC Arena. The first two periods were heavily in favor of the Canes while the Sabres controlled the final 20 minutes. The difference in the game was simple...Ryan Miller is better than Michael Leighton.
It took the Sabres 40 minutes to get their legs despite the lift they should have gotten from beating the Flyers on Friday. Maybe it took them some time to realize they would be without Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta and Craig Rivet. The Canes took advantage of the Sabres sloppy play and Matt Cullen scored the first goal to give them a 1-0 lead. Tyler Myers made a terrible decision on a dump pass and Cullen raced in on Miller all alone. It was the only blemish for Miller tonight but Cullen made a nice move to beat him.
Miller was the only Sabres player to show up in the secon period. He made 30 saves in total for the victory and was nothing short of spectacular along the way. Miller made the best save of the game on Rid Brind'amour about midway through the second period when the score was still 1-0 in favor of Carolina. Miller was out of he net but dove back to glove the shot by Brind'amour that was headed into the open net.
The Sabres took advantage of the second period heroics of their netminder Miller, by scoring early in the third period. After the Sabres goal it was easy to see the momentum shift in favor the Sabres. They eventually poured on the pressure and came away with five third period goals for the victory.
There is nothing spectacular about beating the Carolina Hurricanes but the Sabres have to be happy with the way they came back. The last two games are a perfect example of why this team is different than they were the past couple of seasons. They fight till the very end and there is no quit in this squad.
I'll have more player analysis tomorrow but let's hear your thoughts.