Ryan Miller announced his arrival to the National Hockey League in dramatic fashion on Friday night. Starting in goal for the second consecutive game, the East Lansing, Michigan native made 35 saves and allowed just one goal to the high-powered Boston offense as Buffalo defeated the Bruins 4-1 in front of 13,771 fans at HSBC Arena.
"Our defense did a great job and I could almost always see the puck," stated Miller, who now holds a NHL record of 8-11-1. "I got lucky twice on the post but those are just two good hard shots through some traffic."
The most impressive aspect of Miller's performance was his composure in the final period of play, allowing just one goal off 15 shots.
"(Miller) made two or three saves (in the third period) that really allow you to win the game," stated head coach Lindy Ruff, whose team moves to 2-0-0-0 on the season. "When the pressure was really on and it looked like Boston had an opportunity to tie it up, he made a couple big saves for us."
With the Sabres leading 2-0, Boston surged to life after Glen Murray scored the Bruins' first marker at 6:31 of the third, but could not manage to beat Miller for the game-tying goal.
"Staying strong the whole game is something that I have been working on," stated Miller. "(The team) did a great job in the second really coming out strong, getting two goals and the lead. I was just happy to put myself in position to make some saves."
"It feels good and it's quite a rush to be out there in front of the home crowd, and two big wins. It definitely something that I want to keep going, but I don't want to get ahead of myself."
Following the game, Ruff reiterated that he would not name the starting goaltender for Saturday's game against the Ottawa Senators until after the morning skate. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM.
In total, 11 different players earned points for the Sabres in the contest. JP Dumont, Mike Grier, Ales Kotalik and Maxim Afinogenov each recorded goals, while Thomas Vanek, Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Henrik Tallinder, Paul Gaustad, Rory Fitzpatrick and Teppo Numminen were each credited with assists.
The last time the Sabres started the season with two wins was during the 2002-03 season, but Buffalo hasn't started with three-consecutive victories since the 1994-95 season.
GAME BLOG: Period 1 0-0 (8:31): Ryan Miller stuffs Brad Isbister on a point-blank opportunity. Miller has now made six saves in the game.
0-0 (14:30): Patrice Bergeron springs on a breakaway after coming out of the box but is denied by a sprawling Miller. The East Lansing, Michigan native now has 10 saves in the first period.
Period 2 1-0 (7:05): Thomas Vanek feeds JP Dumont on the backdoor of the power play for open net goal. Daniel Briere receives the other helper. The goal is Dumont's second of the season. The assist is Vanek's second of the year, while Briere records his fourth point.
2-0 (14:00) Henrik Tallinder fires a shot from the point that is tipped by Chris Drury and then ricochets off Mike Grier past Andrew Raycroft. The goal is credited to Mike Grier with assists going to Drury and Tallinder.
Period 3 2-1 (6:31): Glen Murray snaps a wrist shot from the left side past Miller to decrease Buffalo's lead to one. Jiri Slegr and Joe Thornton are credited with the assist. Miller had stopped 12 consecutive shots to that point. Thornton won the draw back to Sleger who slide the puck to Murray.
3-1 (15:57): Ales Kotalik whips a wicked wrist shot that beats Raycroft just above his blocker. The goal is Kotalik's first of the season and it comes off his fifth shot in the game. Paul Gaustad and Rory Fitzpatrick get the helpers.
4-1 (18: 37): Maxim Afinogenov seals the victory with an almost identical goal to Kotalik’s just two minutes earlier. The goal is Afinogenov’s third of the season. Teppo Numminen records the only assist.