Right now there’s a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
Patrick Lalime gave up four goals in what seemed like 10 seconds. The Ducks ran him off into the locker room and Ryan Miller — just like in the Thibault days — had to come in on his day off and fill in for the rest of the game.
That’s not even really the problem.
Miller entered the game with his team down 4-0. Eventually they would score three goals and cut the deficit down to one.
Let’s play baseball for a moment. Say Patrick Lalime was the Sabres starting pitcher and gave up four runs in the top of the first inning. Skipper comes out and calls for Miller out of the bullpen.
We end up in the top of the ninth with the Sabres down 4-3 and Miller still going strong. He gives up a long shot and the ball hops and skips to the fence. Our terribly overpaid right fielder Jason Pominville finally digs it out but throws to the wrong base. On his throwing error, Troy Bodie rounds home and puts the Ducks up by a score of 5-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jochen Hecht hits a solo home run off the end of his bat with two outs to make it 5-4. Let’s pretend Matt Ellis strikes out looking and ends the game.
Somehow, Ryan Miller is charged with the loss because he gave up the fifth run (or in tonight’s real-life case, Anaheim’s fifth goal with 4:47 left in the third period) even though at no point were the Sabres winning or tied with Anaheim when Miller was in net.
If you watched tonight’s game then you know there’s something wrong with this picture — literally.
That half-assed perpendicular line should not be next to Miller’s name. In no way, shape or form does he deserve to be charged with that loss.
I might be biased. In fact, not gonna lie, I’m very biased. I want Miller’s stats to be as gaudy as possible by the end of the year so that he wins both the Vezina and Hart trophies. And a no decision is always better than a loss.
So how does it make any real sense that Miller loses a game in which he had no opportunity to win? But because he gave up the fifth goal in a 5-4 hockey game, he’s the loser.
Hecht might be Lalime’s best friend right now.
And while I feel like a loser for making such a stink over this, well, sorry. In the end, these things are important.
*I actually loved that second period rally. It’s all a part of that “Something’s Different” vibe we’ve been getting from the team since the season opener. Almost 50 games in, it’s no fluke. The Buffalo Sabres are for real.