Ryan Miller hasn't been alone in the Buffalo end the last two games, but it surely seems like it at first glance. Anaheim and San Jose combined to pepper the goaltender with 82 shots while facing just 43 from the Sabres. Miller's dominance allowed the Sabres to win both outings, with the goalie getting back-to-back shutouts.
Miller, though, says he's been getting plenty of help despite seemingly starring in a one-man show. He credits the team with a quality collapse around the net, which allows him to focus more.
"Again I had my guys around me. I could make my reads, make my plays," Miller said after Thursday's 1-0 win in San Jose. "Team effort, and a good one."
Miller will no doubt make his 19th straight appearance tonight when the Sabres visit the Vancouver Canucks. During the last 16 games, Miller has gone 10-2-3 with a 1.61 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.
"That's the Ryan Miller that won the Vezina Trophy," defenseman Mike Weber said. "Our team defense starts with him and works its way out. A lot of guys are sacrificing the body blocking shots, then Millsie is standing on his head for us."
The Sabres would prefer if Miller didn't have to work so much. The Ducks and Sharks dominated Buffalo during the third periods, combining to outshoot the Sabres, 37-9.
"We can be better than that," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We'd like to cut those down, but again it's the type of quality we give up. If we can limit the inside or the odd-numbered rushes, I think that's even more important."
Whether the attempts have come from the outside or point blank, Miller has stopped them.
"It's an important time of year for us, and I'm just happy to be there for the guys," Miller said. "They're battling hard right there with me, and it was a night where I could minimize mistakes and get some help around me. It's fun to get shutouts, but when we're in a 1-0 game and we really need the points, it should mean a lot to the whole team."
The Sabres, who flew west Monday night and played back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, took a day off Friday. They'll return to the ice this morning to warm up for the Canucks.
"With two late nights in a row and back-to-back games, the best thing we can do is just rest," Ruff said.
As the bus started rolling when the Sabres got to Vancouver, Christian Ehrhoff saw a lot of familiar sights. The Buffalo defenseman spent the previous two seasons in British Columbia, and he's ready to face his old team.
"I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be fun," Ehrhoff said. "I think I might get booed. We'll see."
The Canucks elected not to re-sign the defenseman as free agency approached last summer. They dealt his rights to the Islanders, who couldn't sign him and in turn traded him to Buffalo for the same draft pick (a fourth-rounder) they gave up. He signed a 10-year, $40 million deal with the Sabres.
"It was a business decision by [Canucks General Manager] Mike Gillis, and I moved on," Ehrhoff said. "I'm happy where I'm at right now. We'll see how the fans saw that transaction. That's going to determine if they boo me or cheer."