Miller stopped 31 shots, including 15 in the third period, as Buffalo beat the Sens 3-2. Miller was the only Sabre who showed up Monday in Game 3. The Sens dominated in a 1-0 victory. Last night's Sabre win prevented the Sens from sweeping the Eastern Conference finals. Most of the assistance he received came in the form of goals set up by Senator mistakes and questionable officiating.
Andrej Meszaros coughed up the puck in his own zone, leading to Derek Roy’s goal just nine seconds after the opening faceoff. It was a strange decision as Meszaros had plenty of time and room to make a pass but chose to tgo up the middle, attempting to thread the needle through Roy’s legs. The puck hit Roy, who then faded toward the front of the net. Chris Drury zipped a hard pass that Roy chipped in for a 1-0 Sabre lead.
Maxim Afinogenov made it 2-0 Buffalo on a 5 on 3, the Sabres’ first power play goal of the series. The officials called a second Senator penalty on Dean McAmmond, just after Daniel Briere very clearly should have been called for a holding penalty. I didn’t think Buffalo deserved to be down two men in Game 2 either so tha scenario evened out.
Ray Emery looked awful on Chris Drury’s goal a short time later, making it 3-0 Buffalo. Emery allowed Drury’s shot to slip under his blocker arm.
Other than those three plays, the Senators played a fine game. McAmmond and Peter Schaefer scored later in the second period, willed to do so by the surging volume of the Sens’ faithful. The comeback fell short from there, thanks to Miller and some poorly timed penalties in the final ten minutes. Christoph Schubert took the most needless penalty of the playoffs so far, slewfooting a Buffalo player. Dany Heatley was also sent off with two and a half minutes left, really snuffing out the comeback plans.
So it’s back to Buffalo, where the Sabres are still a long shot to win the series. The performance last night was nothing to worry about. But if Miller has three more games like that in him, the Sens will have to play quite a bit better to polish the Sabres off.