The Winnipeg Jets will finish their longest road trip of the season Tuesday night, and they’ll have the chance to make it a very successful one.
Miller was sharp to begin the season, winning four of his first five starts - including two victories in Europe, a 40-save performance in a 3-1 win at Montreal and a shutout at Florida.
Since then, however, the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner is 0-4-0 with a 3.91 goals-against average, including three home defeats. In his last appearance, he was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots in just 6:23 during Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia.
Enroth started for Buffalo (8-5-0) on Friday and Saturday, beating Calgary and Ottawa to improve to 4-0-0 with a 1.41 GAA. Miller, who’s averaged more than 66 starts the last four seasons, isn’t used to sitting on the bench for back-to-back games, and he showed some emotion after Monday’s practice.
“I want to win,” Miller said. “I don’t want to be out there getting scored on. I don’t want to be pulled out of a game. I want to (expletive) win the game.
“I pride myself on being able to get back in net, get back in the saddle,” he added. “To have to wait about a week for that is not ideal for me, but I’m going to do my best when Lindy tells me it’s time to go.”
Ruff said he’s told his goaltenders when that will be, but he won’t announce the schedule publicly.
“Winnipeg is here, and they’re listening, and that makes their job a little bit easier,” Ruff said. “I’m not going to make their job easier.”
Buffalo’s first meeting with the Jets may present a good opportunity to get Miller back in net.
Miller went 11-2-5 with a 2.50 GAA against the Atlanta Thrashers, stopping 69 of 72 shots during a pair of home victories last season.
“My game’s not that far off,” said Miller, who’s never lost five straight starts in regulation. “It’s a question of doing the little things and getting back to what makes me a successful goaltender. Sometimes the difference is very minuscule between winning and losing, and making a save or letting a puck go by.”
They’re still 3-2-1 on the trek, and finishing it with a victory would go even further toward helping them bounce back from a disappointing start.
If Ondrej Pavelec(notes) starts his seventh consecutive game on the trip, he’ll try to overcome a rough history in Buffalo. He’s 0-2-1 with a 3.79 GAA overall against the Sabres, having allowed seven goals in four periods in western New York.