It’s getting animalistic!
Night owls in Buffalo witnessed a Goose-less Sabres team defeat the Ducks yesterday. Get your coffee/alcohol/beverages of choice ready again, as there is an even later showing tonight against the Sharks at 10:30pm.
For those that missed it, the Sabres turned in a solid performance. Ryan Miller, hands down, won the game, putting in a 2010-Olympics-style performance. Miller stacked up 43 saves, including 20 in the final period, as Buffalo beat Anaheim, 2-0.
The Ducks entered the game as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, going 17-4-4 in their previous 25 games. The Sabres goaltender provided Anaheim with an extremely large, cold can of Millertime.
Lindy Ruff spent most of the game focusing on the top 6 forwards, and rotating between those top 2 lines, as the bottom 2 lines received minimal shifts. Cody Hodgson looked slick; he exuded a confidence on the ice that has rarely been exhibited by other Sabres skaters this season. He made some quality shots, including a Lafontaine-like burst into the zone and drive to the net that nearly resulted in a goal. Hodgson glided into open areas with ease, anticipating plays well, and went into the tough areas without hesitation. He made some nifty passes, and spent time during critical moments, including the power play, penalty kill, and final minute of the game.
-Anyone want to sell me a Connolly jersey? My only stipulation is that it must come with a blank sheet of paper and 2 safety pins.-
The Sabres, too frequently in the game, gave up odd-man rushes to the Ducks, and allowed them into the zone too easily. This is where Miller was magnificently marvelous, mystifying Anaheim into maniacal madness. Frustrations grew to the point where the Ducks stars felt compelled to entertain notions of fighting (half-heartedly) throughout the final 30 seconds of the game. Alas, Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan are not going to garner any comparisons to Probert-Kocur-Grimson anytime soon.
Hodgson even stole a page out of the Lindy Ruff phrasebook, calling the performance by Miller “pretty.”
Although the odds and hockey gods remain against the Sabres squeaking into the playoffs this season, a win tonight against San Jose (coupled with a Winnipeg loss to Florida) could move Buffalo to only 3 points away from the final playoff spot. Here is a look at the standings:
What do the Capitals, Jets, Leafs, and Lighting have in common? They don’t have a Ryan Miller on their team.