The Edge: Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins-Goaltending


The Edge will break down the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins to see which team has the advantage at each position. For a look at the defensive side of things, click here . For offense, click here

Buffalo Sabres

When the Buffalo Sabres take on Northeast Division rival Boston in the first round of the postseason, three words will shine brighter than the Las Vegas strip.

It’s Miller Time.

Buffalo’s netminder, not only an American hero, is a Vezina Trophy favorite. He has been by far Buffalo’s best player on the ice this season. Without Miller, the Sabres would probably not be Northeast Division champions–and maybe not even in the postseason.

But don’t let those situations scare you, kiddies. Ryan Miller is here to save the day.

This season, Miller won a career-high 41 games (69 GP). The last time he won 40 games in a season, the Buffalo Sabres went to the Eastern Conference Finals.

With a 2.22 GAA and .929 save percentage on the season, he has continually shut the door on many of the league’s superstars, including Crosby, Ovechkin, Gaborik, etc.

Miller is a stronger goaltender than Boston’s upstart Tukkaa Rask because Miller has playoff experience. In 2005-06, Miller played in 18 games, had 11 wins, posted a 2.56 GAA and a .908 save percentage. In 06-07, he played in 16 games, won nine, improved his GAA to 2.22 with a .922 save percentage.

The numbers are good (scary good?!), but what is most important is that Miller has been to the Conference Finals twice in his young career. That experience is going to go a long way.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins’ Tim Thomas, reigning Vezina winner, was supposed to be the goaltender to beat this season.

However, Thomas lost the starting job to young gunner Tukkaa Rask.

The Finland native sure is “Rasking” in the sunlight right now, ending the season leading the league in both GAA (1.97) and save percentage (.931).

Rask won 22 of the 45 games he played in. Pretty good for a second-year pro.

If Rask can continue his stellar performance into the postseason, he can give Buffalo some trouble. He went 4-0-1 against the Sabres this season with a 1.43 GAA and a .954 save percentage.

To keep Boston in this series, much depends on how well Rask can contain Buffalo’s recent offensive explosion, as well as the return of playmaking center Tim Connolly.

Rask has played exceptionally well this season. He’s going to do some real damage in this league in the years to come, but his lack of playoff experience and Buffalo’s offense will eventually break him.

Ryan Miller has been here before. And that’s why Buffalo has the Edge.



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