For my money, Ryan Miller is the most annoying player in hockey. He whines more than Sidney Crosby ever did in the early days, and he's the perfect role model for every petulant child in Western New York.
He'll be in Philadelphia tonight, leading his last place Buffalo Sabres into the Wells Fargo Center to take on the surging Flyers. Ray Emery, who has a history of dropping the gloves with Buffalo players, should beat up Ryan Miller tonight. Just a bit of catharsis for everybody. Please?
Buffalo Sabres (5-17-1, 11 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-2, 18 pts)
7 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
Local TV: CSN Philly, MSG Buffalo, Bell TV | Radio: 97.5 FM
Get the Buffalo perspective at Die By The Blade
Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, onto the hockey. The Flyers are on fire lately. Points in five straight games, and wins in four of those games. 18 goals in those five games. By comparison, they scored just 22 goals in their prior 15 games. The pucks are finally just going in the net now, and the solid goaltending behind them has held up. They're right back in the playoff race as a result, and could get within a point of third-place New Jersey with a win tonight.
The Sabres fired their head coach and the general manager last week, but that doesn't mean that they're suddenly a better team. They come into tonight's game with just five wins on the season.
They're dead last in a lot of statistical categories, in fact: goals per game, even strength goals for/against ratio and possession, to name a few. Really, you can pick just about any stat out of the book, look it up at the team level, and chances are pretty high that the Sabres will be no better than 20th in the league.
Miller has been pretty much their only bright spot so far this season. Somehow on this team, he's compiled a .917 save percentage, which is actually above his career average. Of course, his record is just 4-12 on the year, but Miller is not the reason the Sabres are losing games. All that said, he'll almost certainly be out of Buffalo by the trade deadline. Hopefully he doesn't get killed from before the Olympics, since only Phoenix's Mike Smith has seen more shots that Miller this season.
Mikhail Grigorenko will still be in Buffalo past the trade deadline, though. The Sabres tried to get their talented youngster out of town, away from the hell that is their NHL team, but the league said no, because that's against the rules. Grigorenko has struggled in Buffalo, as you'd expect from a raw young player with no talent around him.
This should be a win tonight for the Flyers, but you never know how things will go. Three of Buffalo's five wins have come in the shootout, so at the very least, the Flyers better get a dang point this evening.
Game thread around 5 or 6, puck drop at 7. Go Flyers.