BUFFALO, N.Y. - Ryan Miller made the most of his 500th game in a Buffalo Sabres uniform Friday night. Miller, the Sabres' goaltender, stopped all three shots in a shootout to give Buffalo a 2-1 win.
Miller is the 62nd goaltender in NHL history to play at least 500 games, but only the 20th to do so with one team. Miller, who made his Buffalo debut against New Jersey on Nov. 19, 2002, turned away 31 shots in regulation.
The shootout win was Buffalo's seventh of the season. Thomas Vanek opened the shootout by beating Evgeni Nabokov. Miller stopped Frans Nielsen, Brad Boyes, and John Tavares.
For almost 47 minutes, it appeared Miller would record his 29th career shutout. However, Miller gave up the tying goal at 7:26 when Keith Aucoin fired a loose puck past him. The goal was set up when Andrew McDonald's centering pass rebounded off the end boards and out of Miller's grasp, setting up Aucoin.
Brian Flynn's slap shot from between the face-off circles beat Nabokov stick-side 3:29 into the second period to account for the Sabres' goal. Vanek set up that goal by stealing the puck from the Islanders' duo of Travis Hamonic and Kyle Okposo near the left boards, and he found Flynn skating between the face-off circles. The assist was Vanek's 21st of the season, tying him for the team lead with Tyler Ennis. Vanek also leads the Sabres in goals (20) and points (41).
Depending on how the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators fare in their final games, the Islanders will have a chance to finish as high as sixth as a result of the shootout loss.
NOTES: Miller was recognized for his 500th game during a stoppage in play in the first period, and he waved to the crowd. He was named the team's most valuable player pregame. At the other end of the ice, Nabokov made his 41st appearance of the season Friday. Nabokov is one of the 61 other netminders to appear in 500 or more games ... Miller was appearing in his 40th game of the season. ...Scratches Friday night were: Buffalo's Ville Leino (upper body), Patrick Kaleta (hand) and Tyler Myers (broken left leg); Islanders' Radek Martinek, Jesse Joensuu, Lubomir Visnovsky, Marty Reasoner, Anders Lee, David Ullstrom and Joe Finley. ... The Islanders are 21-13-5 in their final game of the regular season and 19-16-4 in their final road game of the season ... Buffalo is 21-14-6 in its final home game of the regular season ... Buffalo is 41-24-11 all-time vs. the Islanders at home and holds a 74-56-22 all-time series lead.