Sabres fans everywhere let out a loud gasp back on February 22 when Ryan Miller went down with an ankle injury. The Sabres were in the middle of a playoff chase and now they would have to count on their backup, Patrick Lalime to guide them through the near future. It was a task that seemed insurmountable to many Sabres fans.
Before Miller was injured, Lalime had played in only 12 games and he had a 2-7-1 record. There was no reason to believe that Lalime would help the Sabres win since he hadn't earned a victory since December 12 when he beat the New Jersey Devils.
The Sabres may still miss the playoffs but it will not be because of Patrick Lalime. Lalime has answered all of his critics in his nine starts and if not for a lack of offense he might have helped the Sabres earn a couple extra points.
Lalime Season Stats
|2008 - Patrick Lalime||22||1197||5||11||3||1||57||2.86||619||562||.908||0|
Lalime Since Replacing Miller
|2008 - Patrick Lalime||9||534||3||4||2||0||22||2.47||263||285||.923||0|
In his nine starts Lalime has allowed more than three goals only twice, losses against the Ottawa Senators (6 goals allowed) and the Philadelphia Flyers (4 goals allowed). He has allowed only one goal four times and yet he has only three victories. Lalime allowed only one goal in a shootout loss against Carolina on February 26.
Lalime doesn't have anyone forgetting about Ryan Miller but he has been pretty good. One could argue that Miller probably makes that save at the end of the game against Atlanta and he probably doesn't allow two softies against Anaheim but overall Lalime has done nothing to earn his 3-4-2 record. Lalime deserves to have five or six wins in his nine games but he has only three and the Sabres are still on the outside looking in.
The only update we have heard on Miller is that "he is progressing". It sounds like he will return at some point but Lalime is going to have to continue to play at his current level for it to matter at all.
Tuesday seems like the perfect opportunity to get Mikael Tellqvist his first start as a Sabre but it is much more likely that Ruff will continue to ride Lalime. Ruff has a tendancy to ride his starting goalie and Lalime has really given him no reason to make a change.