Coming in to last night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the biggest question for the Buffalo Sabres was how Ryan Miller would fare versus Pittsburgh - a team he's struggled against mightily in his otherwise stellar career.
But by the end of the night, the story was about the man in the other net.
Marc-Andre Fleury posted a 24-save shutout as the Penguins beat the Sabres 3-0. Fleury stopped everything the Sabres threw at him, which admittedly wasn't much, especially at the beginning of the game. The Sabres were outshot 15-5, and head coach Ted Nolan chastised the team afterwards, saying they "just stood around and watched" in the first.
Despite their slow start, the Sabres escaped the first period still tied 0-0, but that stalemate wasn't to last long. Early in the second period, Pittsburgh took a lead they'd never relinquish when Chris Kunitz put a backhand past Miller, assisted by, surprise surprise, Sidney Crosby. Deryk Engelland would add another goal in the period, and Tanner Glass scored the empty netter late in the third to give the Penguins the 3-0 win.
While the Sabres had a few chances late in the game to get on the board, this was a disappointing offensive effort for a team that seemed to have found their stride, scoring three or more goals in their previous six games. It was, however, a positive showing for Ryan Miller in front of Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma, the associate GM and head coach of Team USA's Olympic hockey team, respectively. Miller's play hasn't been quite as sharp in January as it was in December, but he's still been playing very well and should be right in the mix to start alongside Jonathan Quick, especially when he can put in performances like this in front of his future head coach.
The Sabres won't have much time to worry about the loss to Pittsburgh, as the Washington Capitals come to the First Niagara Center tonight for another national game on NBCSN.
1. Will the possession stats be as god-awful as they were against Columbus?
One day after posting a -60 Corsi number, the Sabres rebounded with a mere -12 Corsi versus Pittsburgh. They only managed to put 24 shots on the Penguins net, which isn't great for a team that spent two periods trailing, but at least they held Pittsburgh to 50 shots directed against, as opposed to 92 versus the Blue Jackets.
2. Can Ryan Miller defeat his Pittsburgh demons?
Considering his career .888 save percentage against the Penguins, a 31-save, two goals against performance should be considered excellent.
3. How long will this offensive outburst last?
Apparently right up until last night.
1. Marc-Andre Fleury - 24 save shutout
2. Chris Kunitz - scored a goal
3.Tanner Glass - scored a goal and helped another player score a goal
Comment of the Game
Responding to the fact that even DBTB commenters would have 10 goals playing with Crosby:
Leino would still have 0