Sabres Preview: Miller faces former team, “It’s going to be a little strange”
Remember Ryan Miller? That goalie who spent his entire NHL career–dating back to the 2002-03 season–with the Buffalo Sabres? Yes, that one.
After 284 games with the Sabres, Miller was traded to the St Louis Blues back in February. It was shocking. It was news that, presumably, Sabres’ fans did not want to hear in what has been a long, disappointing season. But it happened. The 33-year-old Miller was traded to the 51-17-7 Blues, who sit atop of the Western Conference.
Miller is happy to see his former team, though, but do not expect him to play. Brian Elliot will be in the net for the Blues Thursday night, instead, when the Blues host the Sabres at the Scottrade Center in St Louis. But it is okay. Miller is fine with that, despite it being a bit strange.
“It’s going to be a little strange,” Miller told NHL.com. “There were a group of guys I played with for a number of years. It’s going to be a little bit different but all great guys, all guys I count as friends. I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Since that major February trade, Thursday marks the first meeting between the two, but Miller is excited to see his former Sabres teammates, just as much as they are excited to see him.
“It’s exciting to play against old teammates,” Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said. “Millsie being such a big part of our organization for years and Otter being our captain, it’s going to be fun to see those guys.”
This season, when he played for the Sabres, Miller led the team to 15 wins. Currently, the Sabres sit at 21-45-9. In 14 starts with the Blues, Miller has a record of 10-3 and a goals-against average of 2.01–better than his goals-against average of 2.72 with the Sabres during the 2013-14 season.
The Sabres are coming off a big 3-2 victory over the Devils Tuesday, after dropping their previous four games. The win also marked the first for goalie Nathan Lieuwen and the first since coach Ted Nolan dropped the “interim tag.” The Sabres are in the home stretch of the season. With just seven games remaining, it will certainly be challenging for the struggling Sabres, though.
Six of those seven games consists of teams that are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Tuesday against the Devils, the Sabres had the pleasure of playing spoilers. While there are not any playoff hopes for Buffalo, they can, at the very least, enjoy spoiling the hopes of others.
The next three games for the Sabres are on the road and it begins Thursday in St Louis.
The Blues are coming off a 1-0 victory over the Flyers Tuesday night, and have one seven of their last 10 games. Miller has looked fantastic since joining the Blues, and perhaps sitting against the Sabres may be the last chance to do so if you are Blues’ head coach Ken Hitchcock.
After the Blues host the Sabres, the remainder of the season, for St Louis, consists of taking on teams that are in a playoff spot or are inching closer to a playoff spot. Sitting Miller during those games may not be the best idea–especially when the Blues are attempting to overthrow the Bruins for the best record in the league.
Thursday night will mark the second meeting of the season between the Sabres and the Blues. The last time these two met, which was November 19, the Blues defeated the Sabres 4-1 in St Louis.
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