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Miller blanks Flyers, Sabres even series

Apr 21, 2011 - 4:32 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ryan Miller notched his second shutout of the playoffs with 32 saves, and Buffalo captured a 1-0 decision over Philadelphia in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series from HSBC Arena.

Miller turned in his third career postseason whitewash -- all against the Flyers -- and won his second straight 1-0 game in this set alone, after stopping 35 shots in last Thursday's opener.

"He was excellent, just excellent. There wasn't a time when he didn't come up with some big saves for us," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff of his star goaltender."

Jason Pominville's first-period tally was enough for the Sabres, who shook off a 4-2 loss on Monday to even the series at two games apiece.

Brian Boucher made 28 stops for the Flyers, who look to once again gain the upper hand with Friday's Game 5 back in Philadelphia.

"It's always frustrating when you lose a game 1-0, but I think we did a good job of getting pucks to the net and keeping up pressure," noted Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "Offensively I thought we had the game in our hands but just didn't convert. I think our defense also did a good job."

Just after his club successfully killed off a minor penalty late in the second period, Flyers captain Mike Richards was given a major for elbowing for fending off a check at the side boards from Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta with 2.8 seconds left.

"I don't think that that was intentional. He got his arm up and there was a collision on the boards," Laviolette said about the penalty to his captain. "On the video it was difficult to see, but I didn't see any kind of intent."

But the Flyers held Buffalo off the board and charged at the Sabres crease trying to score for the remainder of regulation. Danny Briere was all alone in front, but Miller slid across to erase the chance with 8:50 to play.

Boucher then robbed Tyler Ennis on a clean breakaway with 5 1/2 minutes left and Miller hugged the left pipe to smother a Richards chance seconds later.

Philly went with an extra attacker for the final 1:17, and its best chance came with 32.6 seconds remaining, when three players continued to whack at a loose puck in the crease. However, Miller was able to spread out near the goal line and smother any rebounds.

"You need to do whatever it takes at this point, to keep winning as much as you can and advance," Miller admitted. "I thought we did a great job establishing the lead and sticking to the game plan. We battled hard, and at the end what you saw was three or four guys around me who weren't going to let me down."

Buffalo got on the board at 9:38 of the first period, when Rob Niedermayer's cross-crease pass was redirected home by an open Pominville at the right post.

Miller halted 11 shots in the first, made 10 stops in the middle stanza, and was aided by two Philly shots which clanged off the crossbar to keep it a 1-0 game after 40 minutes.

Game Notes

Buffalo has not won two playoff games in one series via the shutout since a 1994 Eastern quarterfinal matchup against the Devils, which it lost in seven games despite two perfect ledgers from Dominik Hasek...Philadelphia has not been blanked twice in one series since going scoreless for three straight contests in a five-game loss to Ottawa in the 2002 East quarterfinals...The Flyers still played without defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Andreas Nodl, each day-to-day with upper-body injuries...The Sabres also played without forwards Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht...Flyers forward Jeff Carter suffered a lower-body injury and is day-to-day, per general manager Paul Holmgren.