By Bill Burt
BOSTON — Ryan Miller might have been the best player on the ice during the last 11 days. Heck, you might even say he has been the best hockey player in the world over the last eight months.
That and $1.90 will get you a medium coffee at Dunkin Donuts.
The Buffalo Sabres goalie had a career high in wins (41) and career low in goals against (2.22) this season, not to mention a heroic effort in the Olympics as the USA's top netminder.
He didn't feel like a winner last night, though, after allowing only 15 goals in six games versus the Bruins.
"I am not shocked (the season is over) because we gave up a few leads in the series and that's what happens in a league like this," said Miller.
Miller said that the key last night was that the Bruins got the lead and never wavered.
"They were able to capitalize on those power plays and they got up and running," said Miller. "Anything we could do seemed to be a little too late. They got a little separation in the third. We did a good job of responding, but gave them a little too much."
Miller's counterpart, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, said the USA Olympic star puts a lot of pressure on the opposing goalie.
"It's never easy to score (off him)," said Rask. "If you don't get traffic and make those plays we did today, you're not going to score on him ... No matter how good you are, if you can't see the puck, you're not going to stop it."
Ex-BC star Gerbe: B's wanted it more
Former Boston College star Nathan Gerbe made the most of his two games of action against the Bruins.
In Buffalo's 4-1 win Friday night, he had a big assist.
Last night, he immediately turned an errant pass from Michael Ryder in the Bruins end to a beautiful goal over Tuukka Rask's left shoulder. It came 22 seconds after the Bruins took a 3-1 lead 61 seconds into the third period.
"It wasn't anything special. I got the puck and I shot it," said Gerbe.
While the goal was nice, Gerbe was not happy with the performance.
"They played more desperate than us, it should have been the other way around," said Gerbe, who led the Eagles to a national championship in 2008. "They outcompeted us. That's very disappointing."
Recchi: rest may have hurt B's in '09
A year later, the truth comes out. The nine days in between the Bruins-Habs and Bruins-Hurricanes series was probably too much to handle.
"That was a long time to be off," said Bruins center Mark Recchi.
"I felt like we did lose our focus and our competitive edge and that hurt us the first few games. ... This will be nice. We have a day off tomorrow and we will get back at it the next day knowing that we will probably play again sometime over the weekend."
Grier: B's tough matchup for us
Boston-area native Mike Grier admitted last night that when the seedings were announced on the last day of the regular season, the Bruins were not the team the Sabres wanted in Round 1.
"They beat us pretty good (4-2) during the regular season," said Grier. "They just play a style that gives (our offense) some struggles. They suck everyone back to the middle and clog things up. They block a lot of shots. It's just a tough matchup for us."
Flyers or Penguins: Choose your poison
If the Washington Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 tomorrow night, the Bruins will begin the conference semifinals on Saturday or Sunday in Pittsburgh.
If Montreal pulls off the upset the Bruins would host the Flyers this weekend.
Bruins right winger Mark Recchi was asked about his preference.
"That's like death," said Recchi. "I can't win either way. I just want a day off and I'll watch the game on Wednesday."
By the numbers
0 — Power play goals scored by the Buffalo Sabres this series in 19 power plays.
1, 2, 3 — The game's top three stars, all of which were earned by Bruins last night.
David Krejci was the first star. Mark Recchi was the second star. And Tuukka Rask was the third star.
27:49 — The time played last night by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, leading all players.
40 — amount of faceoffs won by the Bruins, compared to only 25 for the Sabres.
75 — Career playoff assists for Mark Recchi, including one last night.
165 — Pounds that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask weighs.