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Sabres down Predators in Miller's return

Dec 4, 2011 - 6:14 AM
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Ryan Miller was victorious in his first game back from a concussion despite taking another hard hit.

Miller made 32 saves Saturday night and the Buffalo Sabres held on for a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators, only their second win in the last seven games.

Predators forward Jordin Tootoo was whistled for a charging major and game misconduct after running into Miller as he skated toward the net in the second period.

Miller, who missed the last nine games, jumped on Tootoo and threw punches with his glove. But he remained in the game and stopped all 17 shot he faced in the first two periods, giving up two goals on 17 shots in the third.

Luke Adam, Zack Kassian and Tyler Ennis scored for the Sabres and Ville Leino had two assists.

Craig Smith and David Legwand scored for the Predators, who have lost six of their last eight. Anders Lindback allowed three goals on just 14 Buffalo shots.

Miller suffered his concussion in a collision with Boston forward Milan Lucic in a game on November 12. Lucic was called for a charging penalty on the play -- they were both going for the puck near the faceoff circle -- but wasn't suspended.

The Predators should find out soon if Tootoo will also escape a ban, though his situation is different since he was ejected from the game.

Predators head coach Barry Trotz said he knew Tootoo's hit wasn't intentional. He said Tootoo was in a good place to make a power move and couldn't help but run into Miller because there was a player on his back.

"He tried to avoid him, in my estimation, because he launched himself to try to avoid him. That's the only way you can do that," said Trotz.

Buffalo took a 2-0 lead on the first period. Adam picked up a loose puck near the left circle and scored midway through the period, and Kassian got behind Predators defenseman Roman Josi on a break to beat Lindback with a backhand with 2:33 remaining.

After a scoreless second period, Smith pulled Nashville within a goal when he beat Miller on a one-timer off Legwand's cross-ice pass.

Later, Buffalo's Derek Roy caused a turnover and found a streaking Ennis in the slot to make it 3-1 Buffalo, but Legwand's sharp-angle goal with 95 seconds left made it interesting at the end.

Miller, however, closed the door on several tries late to escape with the win.

Game Notes

Buffalo is headed back home for a five-game homestand that starts Wednesday against the Flyers...The Predators, who were coming off a 2-3 road trip, are in a stretch where they play six of seven at home.