Will this spring be Miller time?

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

BUFFALO -- A few observations regarding Sabres goalie Ryan Miller:

- He has the skinniest legs we've ever seen on a grownup.

- He wears a tuque even when he's obviously not cold (right after practice).

- He's about four bottom lip studs from passing as the twin of a guy who works the very, very late shift at Jim's Steakout on The Chip Strip.

- He chirps at refs after saying he and his teammates have to stop chirping at refs.

- He can be fooled. He looked to be busy closing the five-hole when Daniel Alfredsson's shot beat him on the glove side at the conclusion of a fine three-way passing play with Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza last night.

- If he's better than Ray Emery, as popular opinion states, Miller's certainly not showing it.

Yes, among the things Emery found to do in Buffalo was prove the Sabres might not have the huge edge in the goaltending matchup many people think they did.

Miller helped him with some suspect play of his own.

STARTS AND STOPS

Senators winger Patrick Eaves wasn't dressed for last night's game, despite receving clearance to return from his head/neck injury. But he did make a contribution on the road trip here. He bought his buddy Mike Fisher a copy of The Secret, a popular novel based on the powers of positive thinking. Wonder if it also includes the secret on how to beat Miller. Fisher did it again last night, this time with a hard shot to the short side ... Lindy Ruff's feelings were obvious when a second-minute goal was disallowed after being ruled that it went in off Thomas Vanek's hand. Along with the head shaking and words he had for the officials, he waved his hand four times in disgust. A four-waver is angry ... The ruling gave Alfredsson a mulligan on the play. He should have knocked down or tied up Derek Roy before Roy's shot went of off Vanek ... The 0-8 record that the Senators had in Game 2s following a Game 1 victory was nothing more than a "statistical anomaly," said defenceman Tom Preissing. "He's a college guy," Mike Comrie whispered to the Cheapseats reporter obviously stuck on the word anomaly.

BETWEEN PERIODS

Oleg "Freakin" Saprykin and Anton "A-Train" Volchenkov had dinner at the Buffalo Chophouse on Friday, just as they did on Wednesday, the night before Saprykin scored the winner in Game 1. Saprykin even stuck with the same order. "Lamb chops and soup," he said yesterday. "You dont change the stuff." The one alteration that was made had the Russian twosome turn into a foursome -- Spezza and Comrie were also seeking a little Chophouse karma ... After getting beaten on a nice goal by Vanek (that almost looked like it could have been whistled offside), Emery made a couple of big second-period stops on the Sabres sniper. Clearly fueled by his lamb chops, Saprykin helped greatly on one of them, sliding toward the goal line on his belly and swatting the puck away just before it crossed ... Moments later, Saprykin might have had an assist on a Dean McAmmond goal had the puck not bounced on them during a 2-on-1. It would have been a freakin' good shift by No. 61 ... Guilty of a giveaway that came within a post of becoming a Roy goal, Chris Phillips turned in a defensive gem against the same player in the second.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...

Looking like they could finish 1-2-3 in NHL playoff scoring this spring, Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson were each minus-2 by the 6:13 mark of the first period. They made up for their very slow start as the game went on ... In a pre-game plunge, the Sabres mascot swung down from the rafters just the way Spartacat used to in the playoffs. The main difference was, upon hitting the ground, Sabretooth headed straight for a dressing room. Wonder if he crapped his costume? ... There are still those in Toronto who would rather dig their heels in than jump on the Senators bandwagon. Word is Mojo 640 AM, which broadcasts Leafs games, had a name for yesterday's pre-game show. They called it Anybody But Ottawa .... Led by Comrie, the Senators took exception to Adam Mair firing a slapshot a couple of heartbeats after a play was blown down as offside in the first. On one hand, you're thinking Mair should be forgiven as the crowd noise must have made it hard to hear the whistle. On the other hand, it was Mair and unless he has zero periphreal vision, he had to have seen the offside teammate, who was within spitting distance of Emery.

DOWN LOW

Antoine Vermette was the best Senator in the first period ... Former 67's star Brian Campbell made a poor decision punching Saprykin in the head after the Senators winger had just bounced off him trying to make a hit. Campbell was one of the two Sabres in the box when Wade Redden's wicked shot beat Miller ... A unique and interesting breakout saw five Sabres in the same defensive zone corner. We're thinking it wasn't drawn up that way ... Volchenkov already had six blocked shots by the end of the second period.


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