TORONTO – The importance of goaltending can’t be overstated. Yet another example of why played out Tuesday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs exited their Air Canada Centre dressing room determined to impress the Buffalo Sabres. Their effort in the previous meeting was laughable (a 5-0 Buffalo victory), so the fast start was expected.
The Leafs invaded the Sabres’ zone time and again during the opening 12 minutes. Shots flew from left and right. In the middle was Ryan Miller. The goaltender was the Sabres’ best player early, a good thing considering he had to be. He patrolled the crease with confidence and turned aside the Leafs’ 11-shot flurry.
Toronto finally slowed down, Miller’s teammates eventually caught up with a three-goal opening period, and the result was a 4-1 victory by the Sabres.
"You look at some of the acrobatic saves he made, it could have been 3-nothing the other way at the end of the first period, and maybe it’s a completely different story," Sabres defenseman Chris Butler said. "But I think he gave us a lot of confidence, and about the midway point there of the first period we really started rolling."