BUFFALO — It would’ve only been fitting. If you’re going to surpass the greatest goalie in Sabres history on the all-time wins list, earn it in style with a scintillating, Dominik Hasek-like effort, right?
Ryan Miller nearly did that, dazzling throughout regulation and overtime Wednesday, stopping all 29 of the New York Rangers’ shots inside a roaring First Niagara Center.
A single goal from his Sabres teammates could’ve gotten Miller the franchise record.
Instead, the Sabres’ anemic offense narrowly missed several prime chances, including Derek Roy’s shot off the post with a yawning cage before him at the end of overtime.
In the shootout, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped five of six shooters, securing a 1-0 win in front of the capacity crowd of 18,690 fans.
Rochester native Ryan Callahan won it in the bottom of the fifth, his quick wrist shot beating Miller. Marian Gaborik and Jason Pominville had scored earlier.
In a splendid goalie battle, Lundqvist was slightly better than Miller, making 34 saves.
Miller’s still credited with his second shutout. He’ll try for his 235th victory again Saturday in New York against the Islanders.
“He played well for us – awesome, great game, made some huge saves,” Roy said. “ … He’s on his game right now. We got to score some goals and help him out.”
Roy knows he botched a glorious opportunity to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to three games.
“I tried to backhand it over him and hit the post,” the struggling Roy said with a sigh, “so it hit the post and went out. Hopefully, next time it hits the post and goes in. I just got to finish that chance if we want to win games.”
Coach Lindy Ruff liked everything about the Sabres’ game expect the Roy miss.
“The only disappointing part is Derek Roy’s got to put that one away,” he said. “Coming close isn’t good enough.”