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Miller Peaking For Olympics
November 29, 2009 - Matt Spielman
For 40 minutes Saturday night, the Buffalo Sabres were the worst team in hockey. Luckily for Buffalo, it had a goalie making his case as the best goalie in hockey.
The Sabres seemingly forgot everything that they did right Friday afternoon in Philadelphia in a 4-2 win and instead let the cellar-dwellar Carolina Hurricanes' backup goaltender Michael Leighton pretty much fall asleep in net as the guests built a 1-0 lead on a terrible giveaway by Tyler Myers.
At the other end of the ice it was Miller making scintillating stop after scintillating stop -- none better than a glove save diving across the crease on Rod Brindamour -- giving Buffalo just enough time to find its legs and pour five goals into the Carolina net in the third period for a 5-1 victory.
Anybody who debates Miller shouldn't be Team USA's full-time goaltender in this February Olympics should have their head examined. The 29-year-old is leading the NHL with a .933 save percentage and 1.93 goals against average, making him not only the best netminder in the United States, but in the world. Team USA will be taking a lot of youth to Vancouver for the tournament and will be a sleeper to even make it to the medal round, but don't count it out. If Miller is on his game, he can steal a gold, much like Dominik Hasek did for the Czech Republic in the 1998 Winter Games.
Colorado's Craig Anderson had a great start to the season, Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick is an up-and-coming prospect and Tim Thomas had a great year last season, but this is Miller's Olympics. He is in his prime and has been shooting for this Winter Games for his entire life. The next time the games roll around, Miller will be 33 and probably beginning to show signs of age, playing more than 80 percent of the Sabres games every year.
This is Ryan Miller's year. Hopefully general manager Brian Burke and head coach Ron Wilson see the light and make Miller their No. 1 goalie in Vancouver.
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Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller makes a save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo on Saturday. AP photo