The Buffalo Sabres will play without the services of Ryan Miller this evening against the Montreal Canadiens.
Miller is out with a concussion sustained on the hit he took from Milan Lucic on Saturday night. Whether Lindy Ruff’s goaltending schedule called for Miller to play again this evening is a mystery, but the goaltender was strong until he was taken out due to the injury on Saturday.
The Sabres recalled Drew MacIntyre from the AHL for the time being. It doesn’t appear that there is any sort of timetable for Miller to come back. Based on last season, it should be about a two week process.
Buffalo enters this game in a bit of a flux. They were pushed around Saturday and have been hammered by the media and fans for their inaction following the hit on Miller. Certainly the team will come out with the goal of establishing themselves physically this evening. So long as they don’t go out of their way to run people through the boards, they should be in good shape.
Montreal is currently tied with Boston in the Northeast Division basement. However, both teams have started to click after suffering slow starts. In addition, Carey Price’s career dominance of the Sabres is never something to scoff at.
One thing that is lost in every Sabres loss is the big picture. Buffalo is still 10-6-0 and remain one point behind Toronto for the division lead and three behind Pittsburgh for the best record in the East. This week will be very telling for Buffalo in the standings. Tonight marks game three of a six games in eight night stretch. A strong points percentage on this swing will be key moving forward.
UPDATE: Multiple tweets and news stories indicate that Tyler Myers will be a healthy scratch for the Sabres tonight. Can’t say that is a bad decision, I’m sure Sekera and Gragnani will get their turn up there soon enough.
Jhonas Enroth. Since goaltending is such an independent position I am not going to include Carey Price here. The Buffalo defense is also an easy target, but the onus is now on Enroth. He faced a similar situation last spring when Miller went down and he answered the bell. This stretch of games – in which he will likely play each night – will do a lot for the fans who have been really pumping his tires and for those who still question if he is really a better option compared to Miller. He will need the support of his team, if the Sabres play as they have in front of Miller the last few outings Enroth is in for a long night.
BUF: Jhonas Enroth
MTL: Carey Price
10/18/2011, Bell Centre, Sabres 3 – Canadiens 1