The Buffalo Sabres might run the risk of playing one of the most important stretches of their 2010-11 season without far and away their most important player.
That’s not a sure thing by any means, but the fact that TSN reports that the all-world goalie Ryan Miller was unable to practice casts some doubt on whether or not he will join the team during their two-game road trip. The Sabres play the Capitals in Washington on Saturday and then play an especially big game against the Hurricanes on Sunday.
Buffalo is currently in seventh place with 87 points and five games remaining on their schedule. While they are certainly keeping an eye on the eight-place New York Rangers (87 points with four games left), it’s the ninth-place Canes who pose the biggest problem. Carolina has 84 points on the season and also has five games left on their schedule.
If Carolina beats Buffalo during regulation, that would close the gap to within one point (not counting what happens in the next two days, of course).
Losing Miller would greatly increase the Sabres’ odds of coughing up their slim lead over Carolina, but again, he could miss practice but still tough it out in the games themselves.
In the event that Miller does sit out games, Jhonas Enroth is more likely to carry the torch rather than Patrick Lalime. Enroth earned a 23-save shutout in Buffalo’s 1-0 win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday, but is relatively unproven with a 6-2-1 record this season.
Buffalo will only say that Miller has an upper-body injury according to TSN, so it’s anyone’s guess how long he will be out. Keep your eye on PHT for updates on his condition tomorrow.