Sabres vs. Ducks Recap: Miller is Phenomenal, Sabres Win First on West Road Trip
After a barrage of 43 shots, Ryan Miller was able to make a season high 43 saves while Derek Roy and Brad Boyes (yes, let I'll that sink in) added goals in a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night. This latest victory has given the Sabres a 5-3-2 record in their last 10 games and a 9-3-3 record since the All Star break. The win also increased the Sabres chance of making the playoffs by 1.9% to a whopping 4.1% per Sports Club Stats.
The scoring started 7:12 into the first when the Sabres took advantage of a Corey Perry Delay of Game Penalty to convert on the Power Play. The goal scorer was Derek Roy, who took a shot/pass off the boards and pumped it into the net from near the goal line for his 14th goal of the season. Assists on the play were given to Tyler Myers (12) and Christian Ehrhoff (21). The period was exciting with lots of back and forth play, with the frame ending with each team accumulating 10 shots on goal.
The second period was similar to the first, with the each club getting good scoring chances. Miller made a few amazing saves, and the lead was stretched to 2-0 at 8:16 into the second on Brad Boyes' fourth goal of the season. Assists on this goal were given to Christian Ehrhoff (22) and Tyler Ennis (7), who had moved the puck to the point where Ehrhoff blasted a shot on the net which was tipped by the aforementioned Boyes. Shots in the period favored the Ducks 13-10, who picked up their play in the second half of the period to close the scoring gap in the game. It should also be noted that Corey Tropp gave Matt Beleskey some "Tropp-ic Thunder" at 15:51 of the 2nd, and both were assessed 5 minute fighting majors.
The third period had to be Miller's best since Anaheim was relentless, out shooting the Sabres 20-4 in an attempt to remove their goose-egg off the scoreboard. Luckily, Miller and the Sabres were able to hold onto their lead and squeak out a win. The Ducks were obviously frustrated by Miller's excellence, and decided to take it out on the Sabres with three separate fights (Getzlaf/Weber, Perry/Regehr. Myers/Brookbank) within the last 39 seconds of the game. Overall, 82 PIMs were awarded in this last 39 seconds (four 10 minute misconducts), which brought the game's penalty minute total to 106.
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- Just like our last recap, this game could not have been won without the phenomenal play of Ryan Miller. He made a few exceptional saves last night, and it really looks like he has picked up his play after some below average numbers in the middle of the season. Since the All-Star break, Miller has saved 390 of 415 shots, yielding a 0.9398 SV%, a 1.785 GAA, and 3 Shutouts. This isn't the "old" Miller back, this is the "awesome" Miller that we all always want.
- Cody Hodgson had his opening night, and while he did not scratch the scoreboard, he looked really good. Good speed, good hands, and some good passes, he won 63% of faceoffs (5 of 8) and had 4 shots on goal in 16:08 TOI. I liked him in between Ennis and Stafford, and I cannot wait to watch him play for many more season in Buffalo.
- Christian Ehrhoff had two assists, which increases his season point total to 26. He also broke the glass in the second with a massive blast from the blue line. Another player who had cold spots in the season, he really has picked up his play since he came back from his injury. Some people may disagree, but I think he will prove to be worth all the 10 year/$40 million deal that was awarded to him this summer.