When you look at a final stat line and see that your team outshot the opponent 31-26 in the game and 23-12 in the final two periods, you might think that they had a fighting chance of winning the game. In the case of the Sabres on Wednesday night, it took six minutes to sink the entire game for them. The Philadelphia Flyers scored three goals in the first 6:23 of the game and Buffalo was left chasing to try and make a comeback in what inevitably ended up as a 3-2 loss.
Sean Couturier got the scoring started at the 1:43 mark of the period after he jammed in a rebound on Miller. Thirteen seconds later, James Van Riemsdyk snipes a shot over Miller's glove hand and just like that the game is 2-0. Four minutes later, Scott Hartnell sniped another shot over Miller's glove hand and that was all she wrote for the Sabres and for Miller. Miller's final stat line was 6:23 of ice time, 11 shots faced, 8 saves made. In terms of how Miller felt he played, there were a couple of goals he probably would have liked back. "I'd like to make a save to help the team out there. I was fighting for position on the first one and couldn't quite get where I needed to be, couldn't quite get recovered in with the traffic. After that, two high glove shots, good shots but at the same time across the body from that side. I'd like to be better on that," said Miller.
Jhonas Enroth came into the game and the Sabres started to settle down a little. Miller faced the aforementioned 11 shots in the first six minutes, Enroth faced 15 for the rest of the game. The Sabres did manage to make the game close as Andrej Sekera scored in the second by scoring on a shot that bounced off the end boards and past Ilya Bryzgalov. Luke Adam scored by careening the puck off two Flyers and into the net in the third period.
The poor play of Miller to start this game and the solid play of Enroth is going to inevitably keep the flames fanned among the fans for a goaltender controversy. At this point in the season though, Lindy will probably stick with the same schedule and with the lack of work that Miller got on Wednesday, we may see him in net on Friday against the Flames and Enroth will probably get another chance against the Senators on Saturday night.
Lindy Ruff said it best after the game in his post game press conference. "When they deserve to win, they'll win. We deserved to get back in the game, because we played hard in the second and third, but we didn't deserve to win."
The Sabres did try some new lines out for this game and those lines lasted all of six minutes. "I've seen lines where in the first ten minutes you score three goals, you think you are a genius. Tonight, they fall in the idiot category," said Ruff after the game. Ruff did revert back to lines that were the starting lines of the season and it seemed to have sparked some chemistry that seemed to have been missing in some players, namely from Ville Leino. Leino didn't register a point nor an official shot on goal but he did have three attempted shots, one that was blocked and two that were missed, and he was noticeable out on the ice which is something that hasn't been said about him in a while.
The Sabres will finish up their five game home stand against the Calgary Flames, Robyn Regehr's old team, on Friday night. Whether the team can salvage anything out of this homestand is going to rest on that game.