The Buffalo Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention in a lopsided 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers Friday, and starting goalie Ryan Miller once again the focal point of frustration.
He was pulled from the game after allowing four goals on 14 shots by the 1:13-mark of the second period.
The Rangers eventually went on to score five times in under three minutes combined between the the late stages of the first period and early in the second, causing considerable angst among the local fans.
The mood in the arena, complete with jeering directed toward Miller, was captured by John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
Miller, who’s been in the organization since 2002, had a moment reminiscent of Patrick Roy’s final game in Montreal just 28 seconds into the period. He stopped another dump-in and fired it toward the boards with authority. As the crowd again gave a Bronx cheer, Miller waved to the patrons as played continued – much like Roy did during a humiliating game in 1995 that featured him asking for a trade immediately after getting pulled.
Miller’s teammates had their chance to respond after the game.
“It’s very disrespectful after what he’s done for Buffalo, what he’s done for this team, this organization and this city,” Sabres defenseman Adam Pardy told the Buffalo News. “It [ticks] you off when you hear that. He’s been great all year. We’ve had wins when we’ve had no business winning games. The reason was Ryan Miller.
“To hear that is just absolute disrespect for what he’s done for this organization.”
This isn’t the first time the increasingly less patient faithful in Buffalo have showed their displeasure with their struggling hockey club.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger