Miller stops 31 shots; Ducks hang on to beat Sabres 3-2
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots, including all 15 he faced in the third period, and the Anaheim Ducks held off the Buffalo Sabres for a 3-2 win Sunday.
Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie staked Anaheim to a 3-0 lead by scoring over a 5:45 span in the first period, and the Ducks closed out a 3-0-2 road trip. The five-game point streak is Anaheim’s longest since winning five straight games from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5, 2018.
The 39-year-old Miller, who spent his first 11 seasons with the Sabres, earned his 385th career win to move into a tie with Mike Vernon for 15th on the NHL list.
“When I look back, I never would’ve expected to be on a list like that or playing this long, so I try to appreciate the opportunities,” said Miller, who benefited from the Sabres hitting the post three times in the third period.
Miller was looking to rebound following a 30-save outing in a 5-4 overtime loss at Toronto on Friday. He hasn’t faced his first NHL team very much in recent years due to injuries and spending the past seven seasons in the Western Conference.
“Half the battle is getting here,” he said with a laugh.
Sabres fans showed their appreciation by cheering Miller when he was announced as the starter before the game, and then afterward when he was named one of the three stars.
Coach Dallas Eakins made it a point to reference Miller’s homecoming to motivate his players.
“This is a special place for him,” Eakins said. “We talked about it before the game, like this is a game we want for Millsy. So it was good to see Millsy get that one.”
Johan Larsson and Rasmus Dahlin scored for Buffalo, which was coming off a 3-1 win at the New York Rangers on Friday night. The Sabres dropped to 2-5-1 in their past seven.
Jonas Johansson had 25 saves in his second career start, but gave up three goals on the first six shots he faced. Linus Ullmark was sidelined by a lower-body injury, and veteran backup Carter Hutton was excused due to a family issue.
“We had a tough start but we came back and had a lot of scoring chances,” Dahlin said. “It’s not fun when the puck doesn’t go in.”
After being outshot 23-18 through two periods, the Sabres finished with a 33-28 edge in shots.
Silfverberg sparked the Ducks’ first-period surge by driving the slot and avoiding two Sabres defenders to convert Sam Steel’s centering pass inside the left post, with Johansson sliding the other way.
After Getzlaf converted a one-timer off Rickard Rakell’s pass into the right circle, Ritchie scored by getting to a loose puck in front and spinning around to fire it in.
The Ducks nearly made it 4-0 only to have Johansson hold down his right pad to stop Troy Terry on a penalty shot with 2:08 remaining in the first period. Terry was awarded the penalty shot after being hooked from behind by Lawrence Pilut, whose turnover at the Ducks blue line led to Terry’s breakaway.
Terry is now 0 of 2 on penalty shots for his two-plus-year career, after being stopped by Nashville’s Pekka Rinne in the Ducks’ 6-1 loss on Oct. 22.
Larsson cut the Ducks’ lead to 3-1 late in the first on a breakaway after Getzlaf turned it over in the neutral zone. Dahlin then scored a power-play goal 11:41 into the second by snapping a shot through a crowd from the left point.
NOTES: The Ducks recalled D Brendan Guhle from the minors to fill in for Erik Gudbranson, who was sent home for evaluation after being hurt in a 5-4 overtime loss at Toronto on Friday. ... Buffalo called up G Andrew Hammond from the AHL’s Rochester to serve as Johansson’s backup. … Sabres rookie LW Victor Olofsson practiced Saturday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-2 overtime win over Edmonton on Jan. 2. Olofsson, who was leading NHL rookies with 35 points at the time he was hurt, could resume playing as early as next weekend.
Ducks: Host St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Sabres: Host Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
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