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Howard Simon's Blog

SIMON: Game 7 Trends

Could “Pegula Power” help make Sabres history tonight? If the Sabres win, it will mark the first time in franchise history that Buffalo was victorious in a seventh game on the road. Now, it’s not like it has happened that often but the Sabres are 0-4 all time when playing on the road in game 7. 1983 (Boston),  1992 (Boston), 1994 (New Jersey) and 2006 (Carolina). They’ve all been close with the first three being settled by 1 goal while the loss to the Canes was by 2 goals but Buffalo had the lead going into the 3rd period. Buffalo is 1-5 all time in game seven with the lone win coming in 1997 when Derek Plante’s overtime goal propelled them past the Ottawa Senators.
Needless to say, in any elimination game the pressure is on the goaltenders. Ryan Miller will be playing in his 13th elimination game as a Sabre tonight. The record reflects games in which the Sabres can clinch a playoff series or be knocked out from the post season. His record is 7-5 overall, 3-2 at home and 4-2 on the road. Miller’s goals against average of 2.60 in those games is almost identical to his career number of 2.57. Same story for the save percentage which is .916 in the 12 games and .915 in his Sabres’ career. Miller has kept the opponent to 2 or fewer goals in 6 of those 12 games. The 5 goals scored on him during Sunday’s game 6 represent the most goals Miller has ever given up.
Home ice in game 7 hasn’t helped much in the last couple of years of Stanley Cup Playoff action. Last season the road team won all 4 deciding games including the Flyers triumph over Boston, a night when Philly rallied from a 3-0 1st period deficit. Detroit eliminated Phoenix on Coyotes ice in round 1 and Montreal managed the feat twice, against Washington in the conference quarters and Pittsburgh in the Eastern semis. The road team is 8-2 if you include the 2009 playoffs, highlighted by Pittsburgh winning the Cup in Detroit. 

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People : Derek PlanteRyan MillerStanley Cup Playoff

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