UNIONDALE, NY (LGS) — Ryan Miller and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres aren’t counting the New York Islanders out of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series. Despite the 2-1 series lead, the team insists that the series will be a difficult one.
"They have a really good team," Miller said. "They deserved to make the playoffs and they proved it by beating us in our building with a very sound effort. We just want to come in here and play our game."
The Sabres will look to do just that Wednesday night in hopes of winning their third game in the series when the puck is dropped at 7:30 p.m. (TV: MSG/TSN/Versus | RADIO: WGR-AM).
“It’s going to be a tough series,” Henrik Tallinder said following the game Monday. “People have to realize that."
As for Miller’s health, he is fine after taking two separate shots to the head in Monday’s 3-2 victory in the Nassau Coliseum.
"It's something you shake off,” he said.
Daniel Briere’s second-period power-play goal put the team in the position to open up a commanding lead in the series. The goal, scored while the team enjoyed a 5-on-3 man advantage, fluttered into the top shelf of the net after an initial swipe at the puck by Briere resulted in a swing-and-a-miss.
Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres. Trent Hunter and Ryan Smyth tallied the goals for the Islanders. All five scores occurred in the middle frame.
The power play and penalty kill have been decent for the Sabres in their three postseason games. The power play ranks sixth in the playoffs so far, going 3-17. The penalty kill ranks fifth, killing 8-of-9 man-down situations.
The story for the Islanders this postseason has been the inconsistent play of their captain, Alexei Yashin.
In Game 2, Yashin was relegated to fourth-line duty, receiving just 7:07 in ice time. Game 3 saw his ice time increase to 10:07, though the results did not change. The captain has not scored a point in any of the games.
"We have to have some people making some plays for us, and Yashin is one of those guys when he gets out there," coach Ted Nolan said. "Anytime you're unsuccessful, you're unhappy with a lot of things. He did what he could do."
The referees have also been making a big splash in this series, something that goes against their creed. There were plenty of missed calls, as well as phantom penalties, in all three games so far.
But none was worse than a penalty to Randy Robitaille with 94 seconds remaining on the clock Monday, effectively ending a push by the Isles to tie the score.
In his postgame press conference Monday, Lindy Ruff even mentioned that there were some things the refs have let slide for both teams.
Fun Fact of the Game
Since Lindy Ruff has been the coach of the Buffalo Sabres, the team has accumulated an 11-3 record in the first road game of a series, including Monday night’s victory. In stark contrast, the franchise carries a 6-7 record into second road games.
- The refs tonight will be Mike Leggo and Rob Shick. Shane Heyer and Brad Kovachik will work the lines.