Ryan Miller

Tonight on NBCSN: Sabres try to figure it out against Blackhawks


In case you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Sabres aren’t doing so hot this season. When they head to Chicago tonight to take on the Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET) they’ll be running into a team eager to keep them down and perhaps force changes to happen in Buffalo.

The Sabres have lost 13 of their last 17 games (4-10-3) and fallen back to 11th in the Eastern Conference. Ryan Miller has had perhaps his worst pro season yet and is getting such a rough ride from the home fans that even Buffalo native Patrick Kane wishes they’d take it easy on him. Miller’s woes have been emblematic of everything going wrong with the Sabres though.

The defense has looked rough and even though there are injuries throughout the lineup, even when they’ve been healthy they’ve struggled. Christian Ehrhoff, when healthy, hasn’t been the point producing superstar they hoped he would be while Tyler Myers has struggled as well. Robyn Regehr even hasn’t been as strong defensively as they hoped.

Mix in all those woes with a forward unit that’s had essentially only one good line featuring Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek and you’ve got troubles. The Sabres need more from guys like Derek Roy, Ville Leino, Drew Stafford, and Brad Boyes and it just isn’t happening.

Meanwhile, life is comparatively easy for the Blackhawks. Marian Hossa has been a monster, Jonathan Toews keeps doing his thing leading the team, and even Patrick Kane’s goal scoring slump hasn’t been all that noticeable. Getting inspired play from rookie Andrew Shaw has helped them overcome nagging injuries as well. As one of the top teams in the West, it’s hard to be too critical of Chicago’s play.

That said, Chicago would like to get things straightened out as well. The Blackhawks have dropped six of their last ten games (4-4-2) and are in the middle of an all out brawl with Detroit and St. Louis in the Central. It’ll be up to Corey Crawford to get hot and have Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook step up bigger to keep pace with the rest of the division.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: