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Miller gets 200th win as Sabres top Oilers 4-2

by Robin Brownlee /

EDMONTON, Alta. -- He needed three tries and had to overcome an early deficit, but Ryan Miller finally has his 200th NHL win.

Miller gave up an early goal but finished with 29 saves to reach the milestone as the Buffalo Sabres beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 at Rexall Place on Tuesday night.

"I'm happy about the win," said Miller after his 361st career game. "It's pretty cool to be around long enough to get 200 wins.

"Looking back, you never expect to be around that long. I'm happy to be playing. When you can make a career out of it and it gets to that point, it's exciting to reach milestones."

Mike Weber scored twice and Luke Adam and former Oiler Jochen Hecht also scored for the Sabres, who won for just the second time in their last nine road games.

Hecht's fourth goal of the season, 2:45 into the third period, stood as the winner as the Sabres won away from home after a 1-5-2 stretch on the road that included a 5-2 loss in Calgary on Monday.

"We've had a little bit of trouble lately. but we've been trying to regroup and talk about how to be better prepared," said Miller, who gave up a goal to Dustin Penner just 1:27 into the game. "For that first period, we actually played a pretty good period. That was an early mistake. Mistakes happen and you have to keep going."

The Oilers lost their fourth straight game by one goal and dropped to 6-9-2 at Rexall Place.

"There was a couple of breakdowns and our power play has to be better," said Penner after the Oilers went scoreless in four attempts with the man advantage. "It falls onto guys like me.

"We played into their hands. They were trying to frustrate us and we let them. They play a very simple game and stick to their system."

The Oilers got to Miller early, if not often, as Ales Hemsky, back in Edmonton's lineup after sitting out 10 games with a groin strain, made an immediate impact. Penner grabbed a puck stripped from Tyler Ennis by Hemsky and buried Edmonton's first shot of the night behind Miller to make it 1-0.

But Adam tied it late in the first period, and the Sabres went up 2-1 at 3:33 of the second when Weber marked his 40th NHL game with his first goal, snapping a point shot through traffic behind Nikolai Khabibulin after a turnover by Linus Omark.

"I'm pretty sure that someone got the puck for me," smiled Weber, who added an assist for a three-point night. "And they almost got me with a pie in the locker room here, so . . .

"Obviously, you're always going to remember the first one. It's a pretty special win, not only for myself but our team right now. We needed those two points and it's nice to contribute to the team."

When Hecht took a pass from Nathan Gerbe, broke in and slipped a shot along the ice through Khabibulin's pads 2:45 into the third period to put the Sabres up 3-1, Miller had all the margin he'd need to put his 200th win in the books.

Ryan Jones pulled the Oilers within a goal when Tom Gilbert's goalmouth pass tipped off his skate behind Miller 6:18 into the third period, but Weber got his second into an empty net at 19:08.

"We got into the funk of trying to make plays by ourselves and that never works," Gilbert said. "We've got to play as a team of 20 and, unfortunately, we got caught a couple of times."

The Oilers had to play the final 40 minutes with five defensemen as leading point-getter Ryan Whitney didn't come out for the second period. Whitney, who played just six shifts for 3:48 in the first period, aggravated a tender right ankle.

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