The Sabres try to slow down Philadelphia’s high-powered attack Friday night in Buffalo after being unable to do so while getting swept in last season’s series.
Miller has anchored the league’s best defense, which is allowing 2.0 goals per game, and the veteran netminder’s 1.69 goals-against average is nearly a goal better than his career mark.
That’s a major reason why Buffalo (9-2-1) has one of the best records in the league after missing the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
Miller earned his second shutout of the season with 24 saves in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, bouncing back after getting pulled from Saturday’s 5-0 road loss to the Islanders in Buffalo’s previous game.
“We played a real sound game coming off that loss,” Miller said. “We did a very sound job pushing the puck up the ice, and we didn’t give up anything that was too dangerous. We want to be a team that’s in control.”
The Flyers went 5 for 14 (35.7 percent) on the power play against Buffalo, and they have been outstanding in that area this season, converting 28.1 percent of the time (16 for 57).
Richards and Jeff Carter(notes) each had two goals and an assist in the Flyers’ 6-2 win over Tampa Bay on Monday, the second straight game Philadelphia scored six goals even though Danny Briere(notes) (groin) and Simon Gagne(notes) (abdomen, hip) remain out.
Rookies James van Riemsdyk(notes) and David Laliberte(notes) have been among the players stepping up. Laliberte made his NHL debut Saturday and has two goals and an assist in his first two games, while van Riemsdyk - the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 draft - has 13 points in 10 games.
“Gagne and Briere are always welcome in your lineup because they’re going to score all year long consistently,” Flyers coach John Stevens said, “but it’s great to see Laliberte and van Riemsdyk and these guys take advantage of the extra ice time and use it as an opportunity.”
Philadelphia (7-4-1) has scored at least four goals six times this season, but only once in four road contests. The team has played just two road games - losing both - since opening the season with victories at Carolina and New Jersey.
The Sabres, meanwhile, are 5-1-1 at home, averaging 9.0 more shots than their opponents. Buffalo has managed at least one power-play goal in each of its home games, but the Flyers have one of the league’s best penalty kills, with opponents converting 13.5 percent of the time.
That success can be partly attributed to Ray Emery(notes), who is 4-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA in his last five starts. Emery was out of the NHL last season but struggled against Buffalo while with Ottawa in 2007-08, going 1-2-0 with a 4.02 GAA.