Perfect Time for Miller Time
Ryan Miller stood tall. Miller stood strong. The only thing he didn't stand was being pushed around by the Philadelphia Flyers.
He didn't stand alone either Wednesday night in Buffalo, as key blocks by Chris Butler and Tyler Myers to prevent goals on a wide open net preserved an early lead as they tied up the series at 2 games a piece. The population of Pominville went up by 1 as Rob Niedermayer took a pass off the boards from Tyler Ennis and found Jason on the doorstep, slipping it past Matt Carle and Pominville tapped it home halfway through the first.
But after that is was all Miller Time at HSBC Arena. Miller showed Philadelphia why he's still on the elite goaltenders in the NHL, regular season or playoffs, by stopping all 32 shots he faced for his second shutout of the series. The Arena echoed with chants of "Ry-an Mill-er!" and 18,690 fans stood together to praise the unbelievable efforts of their beloved goaltender on multiple occasions.
He simply wouldn't be rattled, not by the barrage of shots from Philly, by the 8 goals he surrendered in the past 2 games, or even by Daniel Carcillo, who not only was penalized for goaltender interference in the first period but mixed it up with Miller halfway through the second.
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Carcillo got into the crease again tangled up with Weber and Miller wasn't having it, and showed it by punching Carcillo square in the face with his blocker. Carcillo tried to run at him but Weber kept him at bay. Carcillo was obviously trying to get under his skin, but it more than backfired as Miller got revved up and went on to make his best saves in the third period.
But which outstanding save was his best? Was it on Kris Versteeg shorthanded in the first when he slipped past Tim Connolly and got a backhand on net? Or was it a series of doorstep stops on James van Riemsdyk in the second before Tyler Myers flattened him?
Or was it the phenomenal save he made on Danny Briere with 9 minutes left in the game? Briere got the puck off a turnover at the blue line, turned, faked the backhand and went forehand only to have Miller snatch it out of midair without even looking like he broke a sweat.
But wait! How on Earth did he get his stick across the goal line to deny Mike Richards a tying goal with just over 5 minutes to play?! Was that not simply miraculous? Was it not magnificent? Was it not mind blowing or at the very least memorable in a game like this?
No, it was simply Miller Time. And when it's Miller Time, every save is the next biggest save. For now, he's saved the season and the Stanley Cup hopes for the Sabres.
By: Tim Hoskinson
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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