PITTSBURGH – Ryan Miller was the first Buffalo Sabres goalie off the ice this morning inside Consol Energy Center, meaning the veteran will likely start tonight against the Penguins.
Will it be Miller’s 499th and final appearance with the Sabres?
Miller hasn’t played since getting yanked from Friday’s ugly 8-4 home loss to the New York Rangers, a game Miller sarcastically saluted the crowd in between two Bronx cheers. The 32-year-old then voiced his displeasure after the game.
It felt like the beginning of the end.
Only Friday’s finale at home against the New York Islanders remains after tonight. It seems unlikely the Sabres would play Miller inside the First Niagara Center again. Backup Jhonas Enroth started Monday’s 2-1 home loss to Winnipeg.
Miller has some bad career numbers – 6-11-3, 3.32 goals-against average and .883 save percentage – against the Penguins.
It’s easy to forget, but the 11th-place Sabres ended the Penguins’ 15-game winning streak here April 2, defeating the Eastern Conference’s top club 4-1.
“We played the right way,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said today after an optional skate. “We took care of the puck. We obviously got some opportunistic goals. But we played as a group and took care of the puck a lot better.”
Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, who played in Consol Energy Center with UMass Lowell during the Frozen Four two weeks ago, will play his sixth NHL game tonight.
“Coming out of the tunnel last night and seeing Pittsburgh again was cool,” Ruhwedel said. “It’s a great city. They did a great job hosting the Frozen Four. It was incredible, a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile, rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko will play his second straight game. The Russian skated 15:18 Monday, his first game since March 12.
“I thought his game evolved actually as the game went on,” Rolston said. “I thought he did some better thing, especially offensively, probably three or four decent looks.”
Rolston added: “We’re playing him in situations and playing him with good players and see what he can do.”
Grigorenko said he doesn’t know if the Sabres will assign him to Rochester when the season ends.
Related: Miller’s long Sabres career could be over after Friday’s ugly exit
Sabres waste Enroth’s strong effort, fall to Jets