Ryan Miller didn't wait for his teammates to respond this time. He was throwing rights and lefts as soon as an opponent barreled him over — again. The goaltender's return to the Buffalo crease Saturday was an eventful one, and the 3-2 victory conjured memories of the game that put him out of the net. In Miller's first appearance since the infamous collision with Boston's Milan Lucic, he got run over again. This time, Nashville tough guy Jordin Tootoo crashed into Miller in the crease, a full-speed, head-on collision that sent Tootoo and Miller tumbling together to the other side of the net. Before they stopped rolling, Miller was throwing a punch with his blocker-covered right hand. He then rained gloved lefts to the head of Tootoo. Just like the Boston game, Miller ended up without a mask. "He's going to come hard to the net every time," said Miller, who made 32 saves. "I was ready for that one. I got my hands up and just got right in the mix after that. I've got to do the same thing. I can't sit back and let guys take advantage of me, either, so I just tried to get right in the pileup and do what I could do, which is not a whole lot but at least show I'm not going to take it." Said Tootoo: "I was driving the net and I got a little shove from behind. That's the last thing I want to do is run the goalie over and put my team down. It is what it is, but I'm skating hard, I drop my shoulder in towards the net and clearly I tried to jump out of the way. There was no intent to charge at him." Unlike the Boston contest, which became immortalized because the Sabres didn't respond to Lucic's smack to the face of the franchise, Miller had plenty of help from his teammates. Paul Gaustad, Matt Ellis and Corey Tropp rushed into the fray, with Gaustad also delivering punches to the prone Tootoo.
Miller comes to own defense this time
Buffalo News | Dec 4