By Mike Harrington
Ryan Miller has gone 2-2 while playing four of the Sabres' five games and I don't think you can blame him for any of the eight goals he's given up. Some deflections (Cody Hodgson has to get out of the way of the Caps' second goal Sunday), some screens and a couple howitzers by Claude Giroux and Alexander Ovechkin that no goalie stops.
Lindy Ruff said before the season Miller would make 36-38 starts. After the way Jhonas Enroth played Thursday in Carolina, that number is almost certain to hit 40. (I say Enroth next plays here Sunday against Florida).
A look at Miller's season to date:---He's ninth in the NHL in goals-against average at 2.02 and fourth in save percentage at .941
---His save percentage is .959 with the teams at even strength.
---He's third in total saves with 127, four behind co-leaders Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia) and Jimmy Howard (Detroit).
Miller has started hot before. In his first five games last year, he was 4-1, 1.61 and .953. In his Vezina Trophy season (2009-10), his first four went 3-0-1, 1.23 and .942.
There have been other hot starts as well. The key is whether Miller keeps it up and how he manages fatigue. With such a tight schedule this year, I would expect the Sabres will dramatically cut down his practice workload.
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