Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Why Ryan Miller Deserves to Play One Last Home Game

The Buffalo Sabres will close out their disappointing 2013 season at home on Friday night against the New York Islanders. The biggest question heading into the game, is who will be between the pipes? A week ago there wouldn’t have been much debate that Ryan Miller would play in the last home game.

But after a tough loss against the New York Rangers that ended the Buffalo Sabres playoff hopes, it’s not so clear anymore. Ryan Miller didn’t play his greatest game. He allowed 4 goals in 2:41 seconds and was serenaded with boo’s from the First Niagara faithful. As Miller was pulled, he “waived” at the crowd as they continued to boo. Miller then made some remarks after the game about if the “crowd can dish it out they can take it.”

Ron Rolston said he’d play both his goalies during the final games and Jhonas Enroth got the nod in the next home game to save Ryan Miller from the fans. While Miller played the team’s last road game.

With one home game left on the season and Ryan Miller likely leaving town after the season, do the Sabres play Ryan Miller on Friday night? They have to!

This season didn’t work out the way anyone wanted it too. The Sabres missed the playoffs and got inconsistent play throughout the line-up. While Miller’s numbers, .914 Save Percentage and 2.87 GAA, aren’t dazzling numbers, he’s been consistent for the Sabres all season long. A lot of his struggles this season haven’t been his fault. The Sabres defence has been virtually non existent all season and Miller has been the one to shoulder the blame.

There’s been 8 games where the goalie has faced 40+ shots and the Sabres have skated away with 7 wins in those games. Those are

games where Miller was the only one to show up and he stole wins for the team. No matter what you think of Ryan Miller, he’s an elite goalie who is consistent year after year and 29 other NHL teams would kill to have a goalie of Miller’s skill.

Ryan Miller has been the backbone of the Buffalo Sabres for the past 8 seasons. He’s been here for the ups and downs. He’s seen former team-mates walk out on the team and he chose to stay. He’s won at least 30 games every season (except this year), and has been the MVP as well as the face of the Sabres for the past 8 seasons and yet people still don’t appreciate him.

As Ryan Miller’s time in Buffalo is nearing the end the Buffalo Sabres organization owe it to the goaltender to let him play one last home game. He’s put the team on his back for the past 8 seasons and turned them into contenders. He’s finally tired of all the blame, criticism and being under-appreciated, can you blame him?

After Miller’s last home game he deserves a chance to go out there again and put on a better performance. See if he can get a win and give the Sabres’ faithful a proper salute, let Miller have his moment with the fans. Let Ryan Miller go out on top and leave the Sabres’ faithful with happy memories.

It’s time for Ryan Miller to get a fresh start with a new team and new fan-base that will hopefully appreciate the goaltender they have. But not before he suits up for his 500th NHL game in blue and gold, becoming just the 20th goalie in NHL history to suite up for 500 NHL games with one team.

It’s been a great 8 seasons in Buffalo for Ryan Miller. He’s made his mark and a name for himself. With the Sabres heading into a re-build and Miller only having a few years left in the tank, he’s heading elsewhere to look for a Cup. His last game with the Buffalo Sabres will be an emotional one and one to remember.

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