Trade rumors have been swirling around Ryan Miller for the better part of the last calendar year, and this week has been no different. There have been differing reports out there as to whether or not GM Tim Murray is shopping his star goaltender. We do know for sure that Miller is back in goal tonight for the blue and gold after seeing action in one game during the Sochi Olympics. For more, check out Paul Hamilton's pregame primer by clicking here.
Be sure to add your thoughts throughout the game, and I will add mine in between scoring plays. Also, be sure to give myself and Brian Koziol a follow on Twitter for more: @PatWGR and @BrianWGR.
18:13 - The Hurricanes are definitely coming to play tonight. First, Brett Bellemore threw a huge body check on Zemgus Girgensons, then Riley Nash crashed into Ryan Miller as the goalie held the puck for a whistle.
13:36 - Girgensons went to the locker room after Bellemore's big hit and is back on the Buffalo bench. Shots on goal are 5-2, Carolina.
11:22 - One of my keys to the game tonight was to press the pace early against Cam Ward, who has not faced NHL caliber talent in more than two months. That has not happened. All four of Buffalo's shots on goal have been easy saves for the goalie.
5:53 - Buffalo is 2 for 2 in killing penalties so far in the game, and have not given up a quality scoring chance on either. First, John Scott was off for tripping, then Tyler Myers was guilty of interference.
1:49 - I know the two teams need to shake off two week's worth of rust, but this is like watching paint dry. Man, I forgot how painful this can be at times. #blueprint
End of Period
BUF: 7:50 - John Scott (2 min., tripping). 11:32 - Tyler Myers (2 min., interference)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 5, CAR - 11
15:07 - The blue and gold go to the power play for the first time tonight, thanks to a Riley Nash minor. We shall see if the offense is sparked by this man advantage.
14:03 - SABRES GOAL. Not sure if Matt Moulson got a piece of Christian Ehrhoff's shot from the blue line, or if Cam Ward just misjudged it. Either way, the puck trickled across the goal line and Buffalo has a one-goal lead on the man advantage. 1-0 BUF.
11:01 - Carolina could easily have tied the game on Brian Flynn's delay of game minor penalty, but again the Sabres are able to keep a tight perimeter on the penalty kill and did not allow any good chances in front of Miller.
10:10 - Steve Ott had a partial breakaway, but Ward was able to flash his pad and keeps the puck out. A good chance, but even better save.
3:08 - HURRICANES GOAL. Eric Staal scores what you would consider a "soft goal" on Ryan Miller. The Carolina captain let go a low wrist shot that went underneath the goalie's pads, and this game is tied late in the period. 1-1 tie.
End of Period
BUF: 5:54 - Christian Ehrhoff (5) PPG (Drew Stafford, Ryan Miller)
CAR: 16:52 - Eric Staal (15) (Justin Faulk)
BUF: 6:40 - Brian Flynn (2 min., delay of game). 17:57 - Marcus Foligno (2 min., high sticking)
CAR: 4:53 - Riley Nash (2 min., tripping). 14:50 - Brett Bellemore (2 min., tripping)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 4 (9), CAR - 10 (21)
18:06 - Carolina gets the first power play of the period. Matt D'Agostini is in the box while his teammates try to keep the game tied at 1-apiece.
9:45 - This is as ho-hum of a period that I have ever seen. Shots on goal are 10-3 in favor of the visitors. Buffalo has just 12 shots IN THE GAME!
7:47 - SABRES GOAL. Matt Moulson has been so close several times tonight, and again he will come up just short, but Tyler Ennis capitalizes. Cam Ward could not control the inital shot, and with the puck stopped at the goal line Ennis bumped it home to give Buffalo their second lead of the night. 2-1 BUF.
4:00 - HURRICANES GOAL. There is another goal that Miller will want to have back. Alexander Semin scores on a wrist shot, and this game is tied again. 2-2 tie.
:43.4 - SABRES GOAL. Christian Ehrhoff gets his second goal of the night as he threw the puck at the front of the net, and it defelcted off of Justin Faulk's stick. The bounce goes Buffalo's way. 3-2 BUF.
End of Game
Buffalo 3, Carolina 2
BUF: 12:13 - Tyler Ennis (14) (Matt Moulson, Drew Stafford). 19:16 - Christian Ehrhoff (6) (Ryan Miller)
CAR: 16:00 - Alexander Semin (15) (Andrej Sekera)
BUF: 1:42 - Matt D'Agostini (2 min., holding)
CAR: 5:46 - Riley Nash (hooking)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 9 (18), CAR - 17 (38)
Let me echo Brian's sentiments from this one: if this turns out to be Ryan Miller's last game in a Sabres' uniform, then what a swan song it was. A pair of assists to go along with a 36-save victory, and worthy 2nd Star performance. Sure, the two goals given up he would like back. However, the team gets the win and he made some big saves late to keep the game tied and then preserve the W. Count me as one of those that will not be happy to see Miller leave, but that is part of the business and if he does get traded that is the way it goes. The Michigan native has been a class act in his time here, and has matured big time since his rookie year. Jhonas Enroth is expected to get the start tomorrow against the Boston Bruins. It is a radio-only game on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550 at 7:30 p.m. Pregame with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog beings at 6:30 p.m.