It may have been a meaningless game as far as the standings were concerned, but the Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in a shootout, which seems to be their calling card.
Brian Flynn scored the regulation goal for the Sabres, and Keith Aucoin answered for the Islanders, but as many Sabres games this season had ended, this one needed extra time, and even a little more. Buffalo was shorthanded for part of the overtime period when Kevin Porter went to the box for hooking. The Sabres killed the four-on-three power play, but was unable to muster a goal. Thomas Vanek scored the lone goal in the shootout, while Ryan Miller stopped all three New York shooters, including former Sabres Brad Boyes.
There are many angles to tonight's game, the Sabres holding their annual Fan Appreciation Night or the fact that they played a solid 60 minutes. But the true story was Miller, who stopped 30 of 31 New York shots, earning a victory in his 500th career NHL game.
"It was great to see," Sabres interim head coach Ron Rolston said after the game. "He played real well for us tonight, and played real well for us in Pittsburgh, so real good finish to the season for him. Real happy for him, especially to get the win tonight and stop all three shooters in the shootout. It's a great way to finish the season for him."
Miller played well in what many believe could have been his final game as a member of the Sabres. His demeanor on the ice after the game suggested that assumption may be accurate. Miller was hugging teammates and shaking hands not as if he was saying job well done, but as if he was saying goodbye. Miller's postgame interview with Sabres.com's Brian Duff also will also contribute to that theory, as his somber mood, after what was realistically a meaningless victory, appeared to be more of a goodbye speech than it was an interview. Nevertheless, Miller played a great game and is still a member of the Sabres for now.
Jochen Hecht announced his retirement after the game, stating that he was moving back to Germany.
The Sabres get the win, but in all reality, this season was an atrocious train wreck. Many had the Sabres listed as contenders, who maybe needed a piece or two to put them over the top. Instead they missed the playoffs for the second-straight season, which figures the offseason to be a busy one as far as rebuilding the team.
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