Sabres-Devils: Ryan Miller Blanks New Jersey
Ryan Miller recorded his first shutout of the season Saturday night, beating the Capitals 5-0.
Two days later, he accomplished something he'd never done before. He recorded the second of back-to-back shut outs, when his team defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of 2-0.
Buffalo started the game with a fire in their bellies. New Jersey was having a difficult time getting in the game and Buffalo dominated. They fired 20 shots at back up goaltender Kevin Weekes. Jason Pominville was the only one to get a goal past Weekes in that first period—a power-play goal coming at the 19:26 mark.
New Jersey had five penalties in the first period, including two in the last three minutes of the game. It was this five-on-three that lead to Pominville's goal. The goal came just after the first penalty expired—however, the 1:36 of five-on-three hockey proved to be too much for Weekes, who let the 20th shot on net get past him.
Weekes managed to keep New Jersey in the game in the first period, which saw Buffalo outshoot New Jersey 20-3. It was a stellar performance for Weekes, seeing his first start of this young season with Martin Brodeur out with an elbow injury.
In the second period, New Jersey came out looking a little more alive. They only took one penalty, which resulted in four-on-four play when Brian Gionta tripped Maxim Afinogenov, who was called for diving. Buffalo took three more penalties in the second period.
Although New Jersey had significant more power-play time in the second period, they were unable to solve the riddle of Miller. They put up 12 shots, but none were able to reach the back of the net. Buffalo produced a mere five shots in the second period.
In the third period, the Sabres were protecting a one-goal lead and looking for a little insurance, when Patrick Kaleta tipped a shot by Andrej Sekera past Weekes to give Buffalo a two-goal lead. The Sabres proceeded to lock down in their own zone and protect the shutout.
New Jersey threw everything they had at Buffalo in the last three minutes of the third period. They pulled their goaltender, and fired shot after shot at Miller. The Sabres, however, wouldn't have any of that, and blocked or deflected shot after shot, standing behind their goaltender and giving him another shut out.
Even with that three-minute barrage, the Devils only managed nine shots on goal in the third period, and simply could not find a way to get one past Miller.
In what was a typical Devils-Sabres game—low scoring and defensive—the goaltenders on both ends of the ice played exceptional hockey, making some incredible saves. With the offensive barrage the Buffalo Sabres exhibited in the first period, the game could have easily been a blow out, had it not been for the excellent goaltending of Kevin Weekes.
Likewise, Ryan Miller saw plenty action in the second and third periods, but managed to keep the puck out of the net.
Game notes: Patrick Kaleta scored his first goal of the season...Andrej Sekera added another point to his collection, and has amassed eight points already this season, all helpers...Sabres captain Craig Rivet was back in the lineup tonight, after missing five games following knee surgery...There is still no word on the return date for Broduer, who has what the team is calling a "bruised elbow".
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