If there was ever a time for Ryan Miller to come back from injury and earn a shutout, this was the perfect night for it. Miller looked liked the Vezina winner he was a year ago, as he led the Sabres to a 1-0 shutout victory.
Patrick Kaleta scored the lone goal of the game and it was all the Sabres would need as they were able to keep the powerful offense of the Flyers off the board.
Buffalo looked like they were in trouble at times, but they managed to keep the puck out of the net. Philadelphia tried early and often to get in Miller’s crease, but the goaltender was unfazed and he proved once again that he can steal a game, or even a series if he has to.
The Sabres managed to kill off all five penalties they took, but didn’t have many opportunities with the man advantage. In fact, they only had one chance and could not score on it. The officiating seemed to help out Philadelphia as they Flyers may have gotten away with a few penalties.
Regardless, the Sabres managed to win the first game of the series, putting the pressure on the Flyers, if it wasn’t already. With six games to go, the Flyers will have to win four of them if they wish to advance to the second round.
Both teams finished the first period with 10 shots apiece, but the Flyers utilized two power plays in the second period to take a 26-19 lead in shots after two periods.
After Steve Montador and Shaone Morrisonn received penalties in the second period, the Sabres found themselves down two men for 40 seconds. Fortunately, Buffalo were able to kill off the penalties and keep the game scoreless.
Almost every time a puck was held by one of the goaltenders a scrum would develop in front of the net. Game one of the series on Thursday night may not have been as advertised as many fans may have been expecting more offense.
There is still plenty of hockey to be played in this series, and one would expect that the scoring will come, and sooner rather than later.
Philadelphia put 16 shots on net in the second period alone, but Miller was there to stop each and every one of them.
The Flyers outshot the Sabres 9-6 in the third period and 35-25 on the night. Miller was a brick wall in net. Although Sergei Bobrovski also had a magnificent night in net with 24 of 25 saves, his one goal allowed was too much for the Flyers to overcome.
Steve Montador’s pair of penalties and numerous giveaways could have resulted in a couple of Flyers goals, but Miller bailed him out yet again.
Chris Butler led the Sabres with 26:04 of ice time.
Head coach Lindy Ruff improved to 9-2 in game one’s on the road.
Game two is on Saturday at 5 p.m.