BUFFALO (LGS) — The Buffalo Sabres will be without Ryan Miller for an undetermined period of time after the franchise goaltender suffered a high ankle sprain during the third period of Saturday night's 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers.
Miller was hurt 1:45 into the final period when he was retrieving a loose puck behind the Buffalo net. The Sabres netminder had his right foot slew-footed by Rangers' forward Scott Gomez.
"I don't think there is any secret that it was deliberate," said head coach Lindy Ruff after the game. "He knew what he was doing."
Miller fell awkwardly to the ice after his leg was cut out from under him, spraining his left ankle. He was forced to crawl back into the crease before the play was whistled dead. Patrick Lalime took over and allowed both New York goals on the 13 shots he faced. Lalime also didn't think Gomez's actions were accidental.
"I thought the guy obviously didn't slow down," said Lalime. "He went right at him, didn't stop and went for the legs."
There was no penalty assessed on the play.
"I stopped and kind of lost my balance and we ran into each other," Gomez said. "I don't know what happened."
Miller, who did not think Gomez intended to injure him, addressed the media after the game when he stated the severity of the injury was deemed low after his initial evaluation and x-rays.
"Right now I just want to get through the night and see how my body reacts," Miller said. "I've had a few ankle sprains in my time and each one was different so we'll see how this one plays out."
Ruff said the team will have more specifics available on the severity and a possible timetable on Sunday morning when Miller is re-evaluated. Unlike a common sprain, a mild high ankle sprain will likely keep Miller out for more than the Sabres would like.
Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby suffered a severe high ankle sprain last season and it forced him to miss a total of 28 games. During that same season, Crosby's teammate and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury also missed 28 games with a high ankle sprain.
The Sabres play the Rangers for the fourth and final time this season on March 21st in New York.