Ryan Miller continues his mastery of Capitals (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
As the rebound popped out in front of the Buffalo Sabres’ crease late in the third period Sunday evening, the Capitals couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. Mikhail Grabovski, unguarded in front of the net, turned and fired the puck into what was a wide-open cage.
But rather than seeing his shot hit the netting, Grabovski watched as Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller reached his paddle out in midair above the goal line and knocked the puck away with 2 minutes 7 seconds remaining in regulation. The Sabres went on to win 2-1 in a shootout
“That’s one of those ones where you’re just completely out of options. The puck came through traffic, hit me right in the pads instead of the stick and I knew I was in trouble,” said Miller, who finished with 28 saves in the win. “I saw him kind of reload and get in position… More often than not those guys are going to score. I don’t think he got quite all of it and he gave me time to put a plate on it.”
It was a stunning, highlight-reel save, the kind that at times seems to be routine for Miller, one of three goaltenders named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Sochi, Russia, next month.
“When he’s on, you see those highlights a lot, don’t you?” Capitals Coach Adam Oates said. “Great goalie, has been. [He] made a great save there.”
It also extended Miller’s dominance of the Capitals. He’s stopped 77 of the 79 shots he’s faced in two meetings against Washington this season and all but single handedly helped the Sabres capture their first road win since Nov. 5.