Not for Terrence Pegula. Since his official takeover of the Buffalo Sabres, the team has gone undefeated in regulation, their only loss coming in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings.
Pegula’s Sabres are in the home stretch of a massive playoff push that has seen the team climb from a hole that once had them sitting as far as 10 points out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference, that final available playoff spot.
After tonight’s dramatic victory over the Rangers, the Sabres remain in very good position, just 2 points behind Carolina for 8th, and 3 points behind New York for 7th. The Sabres have 2 games in hand over Carolina, and 3 games in hand over New York. But tonight was all about one game, one victory – and oh yeah, the drama.
Ryan Miller is the only reason that the Sabres survived this game. The offense did a great job putting the puck in the net on special teams and 5 on 5, and the defense played well enough, but it was Miller whose mind-boggling saves in the final period that ensured that the Sabres kept their tenuous one goal lead.
Pegula says he is a big Sabres fan. Well then, maybe he should get fitted for a Ryan Miller jersey to wear to games, because this netminder he just bought is delivering the thrill of victory, and is saving the season.
Here are Miller’s numbers throughout the streak under Pegula’s watch:
- Versus Atlanta: 40 saves, a save percentage of .976. Earned second star honors.
- Versus Ottawa: 29 saves, a save percentage of .935. Earned third star honors.
- Versus Detroit (SO loss): 35 saves, a save percentage of .914. Darn shame how that one turned out.
- Versus New York: 29 saves, a save percentage of .935. Earned second star honors.
On average, Miller has faced 33 shots while posting a save percentage of .940. That’s good enough for first star honors in my book.
The Sabres now head into Carolina on the back of their netminder for what can only be described as a playoff game against the Hurricanes. The play on the ice will be intense – but the most intense player on the ice will likely be Ryan Miller – and that building is going to be rocking. The loudest part of the building might just be Pegula, hootin’ and hollerin’ from his box, and for good reason.
Simply put, Ryan Miller is back. He is unflappable when he is in this zone.
It’s Miller time.