Overreactions, 63rd Edition: He dissed you bad, G!

Ryan Miller didn’t seem too happy yesterday. When pressed about his departed BFF Paul Gaustad, he seemed unsettled by not having the big guy around anymore. Never knowing how Miller will react mentally to things like this, it’d have been easy to have tenuous confidence about Wednesday night’s game in Anaheim.

Miller stepped up. Big time.

A sensational outing from the man in the crease propelled the Sabres to a scrappy 2-0 win over the Ducks at Honda Center. Miller made 43 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

The first 40 minutes were a solid effort from the Sabres, jumping out to a two goal lead on a powerplay goal by Derek Roy in the first and a tip-in from Brad Boyes in the second.

For the Ducks, the roosters were crowing and cows were spinning circles in the pasture, as they came out flying in the third period. Anaheim outshot Buffalo 20-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t crack Miller.

Things got chippy at the end, as the Ducks’ frustration boiled over. Three scraps in the final minute, featuring Anaheim stars such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry marred the end of a solid night for the Sabres.

New acquisition Cody Hodgson looked sharp in his debut in blue and gold, earning a +1 in 16:04 of ice time while ripping four shots and winning 5-of-8 at the faceoff dot. Hodgson was centering Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, and the line looked dangerous for most of the night.

The Sabres now fly directly to San Jose for the second half of the back-to-back against the Sharks.

  • Hodgson was as-advertised, despite not picking up a point. He was buzzing all over the ice and didn’t hesitate shooting. He had a nice opportunity on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Ennis, but couldn’t beat Jonas Hiller. A nice effort to settle into the lineup.
  • On Ennis, he had a good look at an empty net, but made what looked like an unselfish play to try to find Drew Stafford in the middle. One with a killer instinct would look for him to shoot. One looking for team play would be cool with that decision. One named Al Iafrate would think Tyler’s a good egg.
  • Corey Tropp’s name shows up here a lot. Tonight was another good effort. He drew a boarding penalty that led to the Boyes goal. He threw down with Matt Beleskey. Can’t hate on the kid, dude just brings it.
  • How many guys in the league can break the glass from center ice?
  • Of the Ducks’ top five scorers, four of them took at least five minutes in penalties in the final minute of play. Two of them got five for fighting. Only Teemu Selanne stayed off the sheet, probably because the guy is a saint.
  • Lindy Ruff seemed to make an effort to distribute ice time equally for the top three lines while working in the fourth when possible. Only Derek Roy and Jason Pominville were over 18 minutes. Definitely looking ahead to the next night, and it didn’t hurt.
  • Ryan Miller is 9-2-3 in his last 14 decisions. He’s up to 25th in save percentage and 27th in goals against after spending a good part of the season outside the top 30 in both. If this team makes the playoffs, it’s all him.
  • The Sabres were 1/5 on the powerplay. They had more opportunities tonight than the last three games combined. There used to be a time when that was a typical night, getting five chances with a man-up. Didn’t hurt the game at all.
  • Best part about playing the Ducks? Getting to quote D2. Falafels?
  • Not having a guy like Paul Gaustad at the dot was noticeable looking at the totals after, but it didn’t seem overly noticeable during the game. Derek Roy struggled worse than he has of late and Ville Leino had a losing rate. Only Cody Hodgson won more than half his draws.
  • There were no instigators handed out, so it doesn’t matter, but MSG picked up Patrick Kaleta chirping from the bench and then coming on for the faceoff in the final seconds before the final scrum. He stirred up exactly what was expected.
  • Congrats to Tyler Myers for popping his fighting cherry tonight as well. One would hope this is instrumental in developing his mean streak. One would hope.

Posted on March 1, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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