Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

December 29, 2009

SABRES NOTEBOOK: Miller pulled for just second time

BUFFALO — It happens so rarely, that even Lindy Ruff’s memory was foggy on how many times he’s pulled start goalie Ryan Miller this season. After giving up three goals in the first 11 shots he faced, Miller got the hook on Tuesday in Buffalo’s scintillating come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins,

And although Miller was also pulled on Halloween in a 5-0 loss to the New York Islanders, Ruff claimed in his post-game press conference it was the first time this season.

“When you have just one of those nights in your first 40, it’s not so bad. He’s been so solid for us,” Ruff said of pulling Miller, omitting the night on Long Island. “I guarantee you probably every starter in this league is going to get pulled this year and to get one after 40. It just looked like he was having a tough night. You’ve got to take the emotion out of it and give the other guy a go.”

As for Lalime, he didn’t simply mop up. Instead, the once-maligned backup made a number of key saves in the second to keep the hosts down by just three goals. Buffalo responded with four unanswered goals, boosting Lalime’s record to two wins and a shootout loss in his last three starts.

“We got real determined in the second after we took Ryan out. We won some battles and made some good plays. We started making a difference,” Ruff said. “Patty gave us some good saves, we had to get aggressive. We gave up some opportunities, and you have to get a save here or there and Pat gave us that when we were trying to push it as far as we could push it.”

•••

The Sabres were awarded a penalty shot in the second period when Jay McKee was ruled to have held the puck in the crease during a scramble in which Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was caught outside the crease.

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