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Sabres unable to overcome early deficit against Miller, Ducks

Larsson, Dahlin score in 3-2 loss

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Ryan Miller had one more show for the people in Buffalo. 

The Sabres outshot the Anaheim Ducks, 15-5, in the third period but were unable to push the tying goal past Miller in a 3-2 loss on Sunday. He made a glove save on Jeff Skinner with 1:36 remaining to put the finishing touches on a 31-save performance.

Miller, now 39 and not under contract past this season, collected the game puck from teammate Ryan Getzlaf and saluted the fans after being named the game's third star. It was the 385th regular season win of his career, moving him into a tie with Mike Vernon for 15th on the all-time list. 

Dominik Hasek, whom Miller passed to set the Sabres franchise record in wins eight years ago, is up next at 389. 

"It's nice to be able to be healthy and be here and play," Miller told reporters afterward. 

Tweet from @RyanMiller3039: It always feels like home when I���m in Buffalo. Thanks for the love. I have some serious FOMO about missing my buddies next week for 2000s night. Great memories.

What was a memorable moment for a franchise icon stood as another lesson for the current team. The Sabres fell behind 3-0 in the first period on goals from Jakob Silfverberg, Getzlaf, and Nick Ritchie, a departure from the disciplined game they displayed to start their win in New York on Friday. 

Jonas Johansson stopped a penalty shot from Troy Terry to prevent a fourth Ducks goal with 2:08 remaining in the period, which Johan Larsson followed with a goal to put the Sabres on the board just a minute later. Rasmus Dahlin added a power-play goal in the second. 

"We didn't have the battle in us that we had early in New York the other day," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "What we were doing in the third to generate that traffic and the movement in the offensive zone that led to multiple opportunities is definitely something that we need to take with us. 

"It's our game. It is really who we want to be, and we were not who we wanted to be the first 10 minutes, there's no question about it. Fifty minutes of it wasn't enough today because they just took such advantage of us not being ready at the start."

Video: BUF Recap: Rally falls short as Sabres lose to Ducks

Johansson, who found out he was starting this morning after Carter Hutton became unavailable with a family circumstance, was strong in his response after allowing three goals in the first 12 minutes. Krueger admitted he had a conversation with assistant coach Mike Bales about whether to pull Johansson out of the game. 

"In the end, just bouncing back and forth, we were both of the opinion that he deserved to stay in," Krueger said. "He got a very late call on playing today. I'm really happy we left him in."

The 24-year-old stopped the final 22 shots he faced, including a pad save on the penalty shot from Terry. He was in position to stop a deflection by Rickard Rakell in the second and flashed the leather on an attempt from Silfverberg in the third. 

"When it happens, you just kind of forget about it and keep on going," Johansson said of the start. "No one's going to feel bad for you. You just got to step up and kind of try your best, forget about it and focus on the next time."

"That's a highlight of the game, certainly, is the way he then stopped the penalty shot," added Krueger. "There was some energy on the bench and he really played strong the rest of the way, so what a recovery from a difficult start where we were all part of it. I thought that was certainly a highlight."

Video: Johansson stops penalty shot

The Sabres came with pressure in the third, to no avail. Conor Sheary ripped a shot off the post that would have tied the game. Later, Jack Eichel had a backdoor chance go just wide of the net. 

With Johansson pulled for the extra attacker, Skinner sent a shot from the left circle to the far side only to see Miller swallow it with his glove. 

"I'd like to get more on it, but I feel like they had a couple of guys coming in and I didn't want to get boxed," Skinner said. "He made a decent save. But yeah, just gotta work through that."


Up next

The homestand continues against Detroit on Tuesday. Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m., or you can listen on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 7. 

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