Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

When Ryan Miller Isn't Sharp the Buffalo Sabres Don't Win

Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was the first game this season that Ryan Miller wasn’t sharp and it cost the Buffalo Sabres. The backbreaking overtime goal with just seconds left wasn’t pretty and Miller probably should have had it. He messed up and he owned up to that-

“I let the guys down on that one, I just made a stupid decision” ~ Ryan Miller

No question that Miller will face a lot of blame for the Sabres 4th straight loss and he didn’t play well at all- but the blame can’t always fall squarely on the goaltenders shoulders. Did anyone happen to catch Jordan Leopold‘s pathetic attempt of defending Matt Frattin with just seconds left? If Leopold had just bumped Frattin time would have expired and there wouldn’t have been a shot on net- period.

If there’s one thing that has been clear over the first 5 games- aside from Miller playing lights out, it’s the fact the Sabres defense has not improved at all from last season and that is cause for concern. Tyler Myers has yet to show up, Robyn Regehr has been useless and has anyone even noticed Alexander Sulzer? Our defense has been pitiful and no matter who’s in net when your defence isn’t clearing rebounds and allowing the opposition to get 3-4 whacks at the puck, you’re going to consistently lose.

Let’s forget Tuesday nights game for a minute- through 5 games it’s been Millertime in Buffalo- he’s allowed more than 2 goals just once and has given the Sabres a chance to win almost every game. In the first battle with the Leafs Miller made 34 of 35 saves, standing on his head and robbing Toronto of 2 points when they badly out played the Sabres.

While Miller has virtually done his job of shutting down the opposition, sitting with .925 Save Percentage (ranked 8th), the offense hasn’t been there to

help him out. Through 6 games the Sabres have scored 16 goals, which is just over 2 goals a game, but a lot of that offence has come from the first line of Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson- who’s scoring goals when they’re not on the ice? The offense has scored more than 3 goals just once this season. With the long lay off for most NHL goaltenders, there are more goals being scored early on then there would normally be. When the average game has at least 3 goals scored, the Sabres need to step their game up and score more goals to help Miller out.

For the Sabres to make it back to the playoffs they need Miller to be stellar and return to his vezina form from 2010 and he’s been fantastic early on. Every goalie- no matter how good is going to have bad nights and let in some weak goals, it’s not fair for the Sabres to rely on Miller to bail them out all the time but no be able to bail him out when he’s off his game.

So for those blaming the loss on Miller- he’ll be just fine, he just needs some help from his offence and defence.


Tags: Buffalo Sabres NHL Poplular Ryan Miller

  • Kevin

    If this team is going to rely heavily on Miller’s shoulders to be the only reason they make the playoffs, then you can forget about it this year. Not because Miller is a bad goalie. It’s simply because hockey is a 6 man sport and when all 6 men are doing their job it makes trying to win every night much more fun then a task. If the forwards don’t comeback and help the D-men, the D-men then scramble to do their own job, protect their goalie and move the puck out to the forwards. However if the forwards aren’t helping out, what is the “D” supposed to do? The only thing the can, clear the puck out of the zone. Which the opposition picks up and comes right back in on you. Is that the goalie’s fault? The D-men? or the forwards? It’s all 5 skaters in front of the goalie not working as a unit. When one part fails, it all fails……

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I agree, everyone on the ice needs to do their part for a team to win and succeed. The Sabres are relying to much on Miller to get the job done, but aren’t giving him any help.

      • Andrew

        What’s scarier, is that the Sabres give Enroth even LESS support whenever he plays.

  • Taj Mahali

    demote the slackers.this isnt sabres hockey i been watching.they use to have players who always gave 100 percent.get rid of the slackers.hodgson demote him maybe he wake up and see its not talent that keeps you in the game its hard work.