Miller in Top Form
Coming off two straight seasons of not making the playoffs and play that was considered sub-par by many including Miller, the Sabres’ franchise goaltender is proving to his team and the rest of the league that he is back to being an elite goaltender.
In four games, all losses, Miller has posted a 2.29 goals against average to go along with a great .941 save percentage. For a team that has not won a game this season, these numbers are terrific.
In every game Miller has started this season, he has kept his team in the game. Not only has he kept his team competitive in these games, but he has faced a ton of shots in doing so.
Thus far, Miller has made at least 29 saves in each game he has played. The saves breakdown in those games looks like this:
Game 1: 32/34
Game 2: 45/46
Game 3: 29/33
Game 4: 38/40
In taking a deeper look at these stats, it is easy to see that the Sabres’ defense has not gotten the job done. When a team is averaging 37 shots allowed per game (2nd in the league behind the Ottawa Senators), it is quite clear that this said team’s defense is not doing their job in making life easy for their goaltender.
Nevertheless, Miller has been more than up to the task to pick-up the slack for the team in front of him. As of this writing, Miller is second in the league in both shots faced (153) and saves (144) and with the way the Sabres are playing right now, both of those numbers will more than likely continue to rise.
In the team’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks a few nights ago, Sabres’ coach Ron Rolston praised the play of Miller with Mike Harrington, the Sabres’ beat writer for The Buffalo News.
"He's basically at this point one of the best players in the league in terms of influence on their hockey team," coach Ron Rolston said.
While the Sabres may not be going anywhere this season, Miller’s play certainly has him in the running to be Team USA’s starting goaltender in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi this February. He is currently outplaying both Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard and should he continue to play this way, he might just end up with another chance to lead Team USA to another medal.
Miller’s fine play to start the season is also more than likely gaining the attention of teams that might need a goaltender at the trade deadline. If the Sabres continue to play like this, making the playoffs is out of the question, which gives Miller an opportunity to go somewhere where the postseason is a possibility.
His team may not be playing well but Miller is on top of his game and for him, that will only continue to be a good thing.