Buffalo has been rolling right along and they’re within one point in the standings of locking down a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. What’s made that all the more amazing of late is that they’ve been doing it without all-world goalie Ryan Miller the last few games as he’s out with an upper body injury.
While the Sabres have kept moving right along thanks to the solid play of Jhonas Enroth, if the Sabres are going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs, they’ll need Miller in goal and need him to be as good as he’s capable of playing. Fortunately for the Sabres, Miller’s condition is improving and he’s practicing with the team and appears to be heading towards getting a start this weekend.
Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 AM in Buffalo had this report from Sabres practice:
It seemed as though the teammates shooting at Miller weren’t letting up or aiming low, so Miller presumably is getting closer and closer to making a return. After practice, head coach Lindy Ruff said that Miller felt good after the practice session. When asked if Miller would be good enough to backup at least on Friday against Philadelphia, Ruff told reporters that Miller may even be good enough to start. He then quickly added that they wouldn’t make that call just yet.
“There’s no doubt that he is going to play before the season ends,” Ruff remarked about Miller.
Whether that means we see Miller jump in in a relief effort either Friday or Saturday in Columbus it remains to be seen. It can’t be ruled out we could see Miller get a start against the Blue Jackets but ideally Lindy Ruff wants to see what Miller’s got before the playoffs kick off next week.
It would also help for Buffalo to lock up a playoff spot as soon as possible. The Sabres just need to earn a point to do that be it through a victory or just by making it to overtime, they’ll be in the playoffs. If Buffalo has to go into Saturday’s game in a must-point situation, Ruff might have a difficult decision to make whether to go with the healthy Enroth or the fresh off an injury Miller.
Who are we kidding here? If Miller is healthy enough to play, he’d get the call there no matter what.
It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.
For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.
After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.
Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.
Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:
Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins
Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals
Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.
Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.
The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.
(Check out video of the hit above.)
The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.
Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?
Washington currently leads the game 3-2.
There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.
Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.
The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: