Ryan Miller sat in the visitors' dressing room Thursday morning, staring straight ahead toward nothing in particular, lost in uninterrupted thought and oblivious to the chaos around him. He's taken enough laps in the Stanley Cup playoffs to know how to gather his emotions and envision the days ahead. Of course, you never truly know the psyche of a goaltender. Miller is a deep, introspective thinker who can be difficult to read, but after a while you get a sense for when he's right. That's how he looked in the morning and that's how he looked when it was over. The score -- Sabres 1, Flyers 0 -- tells you enough about who stood out the most in Game One in Wells Fargo Center. Miller made 35 saves in all, but it seemed as if Philadelphia could have fired 350 shots in his direction and not scored. He had talked about wrapping himself in his own little world without any distractions that come with the playoffs, and he certainly looked like he was in a comfy cocoon Thursday against the Flyers. He was calm. He was confident. He was Miller at his best from beginning to end. "I told myself, no matter what happened out there, I was going to stay contained and stay cool," Miller said. "The first scrum of the [game] didn't look that way but, from the goaltending aspect, I just wanted to keep it calm." Miller can live in a bubble, but knows the deal. He's aware that there's no running from his importance in these playoffs. His performance will largely determine whether Buffalo or Philadelphia advances to the second round. You know, I know and he darned well knows that it almost always comes back to the goaltender. He held the Sabres together in Game One while they tried infiltrating foreign territory, aka, the offensive zone. It's going to take a few black eyes, fat lips and bloody noses to beat the Flyers in this best-of-seven series. Patrick Kaleta confirmed as much when he bolted for the net and banged home Marc-Andre Gragnani's slapper on a simple play about six minutes into the third. What we have now, folks, is a playoff series. The Sabres came to Philly looking for a split, and now they'll be a greedy, hungry team Saturday going into Game Two. If you're a Sabres fan, you were encouraged by what you saw Thursday from Miller. He made 12 saves in the first 12 minutes of the second period alone. He should have been tossed in the county jail for the doozy he made while sliding across the crease to stop Jeff Carter just before the second intermission, his best save of the game. "It's why he's the best goalie in the league," defenseman Mike Weber said. "Game One is huge, especially when you're on the road. He stole the show tonight. Huge save in the second period on Carter. When he makes that save, you know he's in the zone. He was stellar all night."
Miller finds way into the O zone
Buffalo News | Apr 15