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>>caption: RYAN MILLER (L) STOPS
@ JOE LOUIS ARENA:
The Miller Clan came down from
East Lansing to watch brothers Drew
of the Red Wings do battle with Ryan
of the Sabres.
It was indeed a Miller who figured
into the conclusion of the contest, but in another context.
Team USA Olympic stars Ryan Miller and Brian Rafalski were on display in
overtime when the Wings edged Buffalo 3-2.
A delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass to 6-foot-8 Buffalo
DEF Tyler Myers gave Detroit a late 3rd-Per power play. As overtime began the
5-on-4 became a 4-on-3 and Detroit switched point men Rafalski and Nick Lidstrom
to opposite sides to give them more direct shots through open areas. The bit of
strategy worked and Rafalski blasted a shot from the top of the left circle. With Dan
Cleary screening Ryan Miller, Rafalski (#6) scored the game-winner at 0:31/4.
The victory allowed Detroit to leapfrog over idle Calgary into 8th place in the NHL
Western Conference standings, the final playoff spot.
The Wings skated to a quick 2-0 lead before the game was even three and a half
Pavel Datsyuk (#21) beat Ryan Miller from an almost impossible angle at 2:02/1.
Brad Stuart fired a shot from the right point that bounced off the zamboni door
backboards and onto Datsyuk's stick. From the left side of the end red line, Datsyuk
wristered past Sabres DEF Andrej Sekera, past the near post, behind Miller and into
the net just inside the far post.
Just 1:13 later Detroit struck again. Patrick Eaves (#10) speed-rushed up the
left wing, around Buffalo DEF Craig Rivet, and cut to the net. When Miller tried to
poke-check Eaves, the Wings FWD jabbed the puck ahead and it went up the shaft
of Miller's stick and into the net at 3:15/1.
The Sabres tied the game with a pair of rebound goals by German Jochen Hecht
with his linemates Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly each earning a pair of assists.
Buffalo grabbed the early momentum away from Detroit when Pominville wristed
from the right point. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made the stick save, but
left a juicy rebound for Hecht (#15) to backhand at 7:02/1.
The Sabres tied the game 2-all at 5:30/2 by catching Detroit in a line change.
Connolly led the rush and shot at Howard, the puck pinballed to Pominville, who
dished it to Hecht (#16) for a wrist shot that went in the net off Howard's left
shoulder with the Wings goalie turned around and on the ice facing backward.
After a scoreless 3rd-Per it was Ralalski's turn in the OT.
Ryan Miller lost but stil starred, making 34-SV including 15 in the opening period.
Howard had 24-SV.
Drew Miller was even on the plus/minus chart with four shots on brother Ryan.
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "We’ve won five of seven now and done a
pretty good job. We just got to continue to find a way to get better. We had good
tempo in our game early, we had all our lines going. It was a good night for us."
R-WINGS DEF BRIAN RAFALSKI: "Every point is crucial. I'm glad we got two...[Ryan
Miller] doesn't get frustrated or rattled. He's a big goalie and a big-time goalie...
We were able to move it around [on the OT power play] and they were leaving me
open. The first time they stepped up on me and the next time I saw the defenseman
go right to [Dan] Cleary as he was going to the front of the net, so I knew I’d have a
good chance to get a shot through...It’s good we’ve played back-to-back 60-minute
games, but it means nothing if we don’t do it on Monday [at Calgary]."
R-WINGS FWD DREW MILLER: "[Ryan] played well, made some good saves for them.
The first two games I played against him I really didn’t have too many good chances.
Tonight I have a couple of chances...Two goals quick on him. I knew he’d regroup and
come back strong and make some big saves for his team. He played well, but our guys
kept going and going, put shots on him and got in front of him. That was our game
plan and we came through."
SABRES GOALIE RYAN MILLER: "Actually, they're [the Miller parents in attendance]
probably happy with the result. Drew's team needed the points more than we did
and we still got a point...It was fun. [Drew] had a couple of good chances."
The Red Wings are now 9-12 and the Sabres 9-10 in overtime games.
Ryan Miller fell to 2-6 in his NHL career vs Detroit.
Hecht had his second two-goal game this season.
The overtime PPG gave the Red Wings power play goals in nine consecutive
games to tie the longest such streak in the NHL this season.
The Red Wings have won five of seven since the Olympic break and six of their
last eight games.
Detroit opens a crutial 3-game western Canada road trip by visiting Calgary Monday.
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