BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—After some ups and downs early in Ryan Miller’s career, the young goalie is finally starting to have a good time.
“It’s a lot of fun right now,” said the 25-year-old Miller, who has won consecutive games for the first time since January 2003. “It feels good and it’s quite a rush. It’s definitely something I want to keep going, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.”
Miller’s start is quite the opposite of how he began the 2003-04 season. He started and lost the first two games and allowed eight goals in the process. Two years later, Miller has begun to solidify his place in coach Lindy Ruff’s ongoing search for a No. 1 goaltender.
“Yeah, he’s a candidate,” Ruff said jokingly.
“Right now they are still battling and it’s a good war,” said J.P. Dumont, who gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season at 7:05 of the second period. “Ryan played unbelievable in training camp, and he’s playing the same way now.”
Glen Murray scored Boston’s lone goal in the third period to break up Miller’s shutout bid.
Boston, which dropped its opener against Montreal on Wednesday, is 0-2 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season when the Bruins went winless in nine games.
“Based on the performance, we weren’t ready to play,” Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I believe we have a good team, and I believe we have talent. We’d better be ready from the drop of the puck, and we weren’t.”
Boston had 21 shots through the first two periods, but peppered Miller with 15 shots in the third.
“It’s been something I’ve been working on, staying strong through the whole game,” Miller said. “We knew they were going to come back, and I have to know that, too.”
Miller was helped in the second period when the Bruins twice hit goal posts with shots in under a minute. Brian Leetch’s wrister went off the top of the left post midway through the period, and Brad Isbister followed by ringing a shot off the pipe behind Miller.
“We had our chances to score,” Bruins captain Joe Thornton said. “We just have to get our scoring touch.”
Isbister’s shot was reviewed by video replay.
“They were good, hard shots through traffic,” Miller said. “You don’t laugh it off completely, but you kind of check yourself to see if it was your fault or was it a good shot.”
The Bruins have scored just twice in their first two games.
“We have to simplify and get the puck to the net, and try not to make the fancy play,” Murray said.
Miller stopped Murray and Sergei Samsonov at the doorstep with just under eight minutes remaining and covered up a loose puck in the crease three minutes later before Boston center Patrice Bergeron could get his stick on it.
After a scoreless first period, Dumont netted his second goal of the season while the Sabres were on the power play. Dumont took a pass from Thomas Vanek at the bottom of the right circle, and slid the puck past goaltender Andrew Raycroft.
Murray cut Boston’s deficit to 2-1 with 13:29 remaining, converting a pass from defenseman Jiri Slegr at the left circle. Murray let go a quick wrist shot that beat Miller on the stick side.
Kotalik beat Raycroft with a wrist shot with 4:03 left, and with the man-advantage, Afinogenov capped the scoring with his third goal with 1:23 to go.
Raycroft finished with 37 saves.
Sabres D Dmitri Kalinin missed his second straight game because of a groin injury. … Dumont has opened the season with goals in the first two games for the second time in his career (2000-01). … Bruins C Alexei Zhamnov was scratched for the second straight game with an injured shoulder. … The Bruins started a six-game road trip that will end Oct. 18 in Montreal.