On Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres played like a team with nothing to lose, and it worked out pretty well for them. Maybe the recent trade deadline moves that sent Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold out of town helped keep the Sabres from realizing that they had a chance to make history against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins had a chance to tie the NHL record for consecutive wins on Tuesday, but came up short against a Sabres team that struck early and often. With rumors still swirling that more players might be headed out of Buffalo before Wednesday’s deadline, the team was somehow able to eliminate that distraction and play one of their best games of the season.
Ryan Miller finally played like the star goaltender he is, making 19 saves and setting a Sabres record for most games played. Miller’s Tuesday appearance was his 492nd in a Sabres uniform, moving him past Dominik Hasek for the franchise mark. A first-period power play goal by the Penguins’ Jarome Iginla was the only time he was beaten all night, as the Sabres killed off three other Pittsburgh power plays while limiting the number of shots Miller faced.
Kevin Porter was the offensive hero of the night, finding the back of the net for the first time in over a year in the first period, and then doing it again in the second period. Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also scored, and Jason Pominville had two assists. With little left to lose, the Sabres are playing with an edge that will make them a dangerous opponent for the rest of the Eastern Conference in the season’s final month.