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Miller makes 49 saves as Sabres defeat Capitals in shootout

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It was indeed “Miller Time” on Sunday, Dec. 29, as Ryan Miller made 49 saves while leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals.

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After a scoreless tie that almost lasted two full periods, the Sabres finally broke the double goose-egg with 1:42 remaining in the second period with a goal by Drew Stafford. Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy tried to clear the puck out of his own zone from the corner, but Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was able to take control of the puck along the left wing boards at the top of the faceoff circle. Ehrhoff then wristed a shot that Drew Stafford was able to redirect past Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer from right outside the goal crease to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

Troy Brouwer was however able to even up the score for the Capitals 5:34 into the third period. Mikhail Grabovski stole the puck from Sabres captain Steve Ott at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, skated to the top of the circle, and then sent a pass over to Brouwer as he skated into the zone. Brouwer then one-timed a slap shot from just above the left faceoff circle that eluded Ryan Miller to tie the game at one apiece.

The remainder of the third period went without any scoring, and the game would go to overtime. After overtime ended with a winner still yet to be decided, a shootout was needed to settle the tilt.

After five rounds of a shootout that went unsuccessful for both teams, Steve Ott would finally score on the Sabres sixth shootout attempt. The Capitals had one last attempt to try and tie it on their sixth attempt, but Mike Green was unable to get it past Ryan Miller, and the Sabres secured the victory.

The Sabres only managed 17 shots on the Capitals during the game, with Philipp Grubauer making 16 saves, but Ryan Miller made 49 saves on 50 Capitals shots to keep the game even after regulation and five minutes of overtime before shutting the door in the shootout.

Ryan Miller is now 10-17-1 on the season with a .927 save percentage and a 2.69 goals against average.

With the victory, the Sabres are now 5-0-1 in their last six home games, and are now 11-24-4 after the first 39 games of the season. With 53 games remaining, the Sabres still sit in last place in the entire NHL with 26 points, but are closing in on the 29th place New York Islanders (29 points) and 28th place Edmonton Oilers (30 points).

The Sabres will now travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets on New Year’s Eve. The game is set to start at 7 p.m. Eastern.

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