Ok, so the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending has been terrible for the last 5 of the 6 games in this series versus the Buffalo Sabres (okay it’s been bad for the last 16 years. Sorry, but I was trying to think in terms of this series.). Whether it’s Sergei Bobrovski, Brian Boucher or Michael Leighton the Flyers have allowed the Sabres to score some ridiculously bad goals and because of that the series will enter a game 7 on Tuesday night.
However, as bad as the Flyers have been Ryan Miller has been the most disappointing goaltender in this series.
Now you’re probably saying um, Kevin… he has two shut outs in the series. Well to you I say I know and thank you for such an astute observation. However, have you also not seen him allow 4 goals in the series 3 times, almost give back game 5 after the Sabres jumped out to a 3-0 lead and watch him not control any of the rebounds that led to 3 of the Flyers goals last night?
In his defense, Tyler Myers and the Sabres defense did little to nothing to help clear the front of the net for Miller and it led to 2 goals that Miller just couldn’t see.
With that said, Miller’s performance in this series has not been indicative of who he is a goaltender and it’s the reason why the Sabres are going back to Philadelphia for game 7 instead of getting ready for the Capitals.
Miller has looked skittish at time in the series, even scared. There were times yesterday when he looked like he didn’t want to be on the ice at all. This is not the same goalie that carried Team USA to the Gold Medal Game last February, or the one that carried the Sabres to the playoffs at the end of the regular season.
One cause for his off and on play this series could be that he’s still feeling the effects of an injury that he suffered against the Maple Leafs in late March.
Miller took a puck off of his chest and mask and missed the rest of the regular season to recover from what may have been a concussion. Yet in game 1 he was ready to go and showed no effects… until these last 5 games.
He’s been in position for most of the Flyers goals but just hasn’t made the plays to stop them from scoring. Danny Briere has scored 4 goals in the series all off of rebounds that Miller couldn’t control. Guys like Claude Giroux have taken clear view shots that haven’t too hard to stop, but Miller has let them through.
As bad as the Sabres goals have been that the Flyers have allowed Miller has allowed some that have been just as questionable.
So would I pull Miller at this point? No I wouldn’t because he’s the guy that got you here and why put a little used backup like Jonas Enroth in net, which would put doubt in your starter (hi, Alain Vigneault)?
But I would be concerned. If Miller isn’t on his game for game 7 then the Sabres are done. Sure Myers and the defense have to play better and Thomas Vanek has to keep up his scoring output that he’s done over the course of this series, but this team falls if Miller isn’t the Vezina winning goalie that he has been.
So while the Flyers goaltending remains an issue going into tomorrow, don’t think that the Sabres shouldn’t be concerned about theirs either.