Buffalo Sabres G Ryan Miller Turns Capitals' Brooks Laich into Mark Messier

Robert Wood@@bleachRWreachrCorrespondent IApril 5, 2012

Washington Capitals center and prognosticator Brooks Laich.
Washington Capitals center and prognosticator Brooks Laich.Rob Carr/Getty Images

During a radio appearance on Washington, DC's 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich expressed his confidence in his team's postseason ambitions despite a devastating loss to division rival Tampa Bay only two nights earlier.

"We're not talking worst-case scenario. We're making the playoffs," Laich stated.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller heard this quote, and was not impressed. His team was tied with the Capitals at 88 points coming into Thursday night, when both teams were in action.

"I don't think he's Mark Messier," said Miller.

Miller was referring to the famous "guarantee" by New York Rangers captain Mark Messier before Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. Messier scored a hat trick in Game 6 to help the Rangers win the game and tie the series, with New York taking Game 7. "Captain Comeback" and the New York Rangers of course went on to win the Stanley Cup. 

Thursday night, Miller's words came back to haunt him. Brooks Laich scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Washington's 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.

The division rival Panthers needed just one point going into the game to clinch the Southeast Division. Fighting with the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot, the Sabres, meanwhile, needed a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers coupled with a Florida win over the Caps to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

In Philadelphia, Ryan Miller gave up two third-periods goals, including the game-winning goal to the Flyers' Matt Read with 4:21 remaining in the game. Buffalo would eventually lose 2-1.

The Sabres' regulation loss and the Capitals' victory eliminated the Buffalo Sabres from the playoffs, and clinched a postseason berth for both the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals.   

You were saying, Mr. Miller?