At this point, the Buffalo Sabres need any feel-good moment they can get. They got a huge one Tuesday night as Ryan Miller's 200th career win came on the third try, a 4-2 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers in Rexall Place.
Miller made 29 saves, including a great glove grab on Ales Hemsky in the third period as Buffalo was protecting a 3-2 lead. Miller, 30, is the 67th goalie in NHL history to reach 200. He's 12th on the active list, tied with teammate Patrick Lalime.
"I'm happy about the win and it's pretty cool to be around long enough to get 200," Miller said. "Looking back, you never expect to be around that long. You're happy to be playing. When you can make a career out of it and get to that point, it's exciting to reach milestones."
The Sabres were in a 1-5-2 rut on the road and coming off a dismal final 40 minutes in Monday's 5-2 loss at Calgary. They pulled eight points behind skidding Montreal for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
When the final horn sounded, Miller and Lalime were the last two off the ice as they shared a big hug in front of the Buffalo net and Lalime presented Miller with the game puck.
"It's pretty cool that we're right next to each other in the record books now," Miller said. " We're the first tandem to reach it while we're on the same team together. It's a little fun trivia fact. We're really close and it was pretty special to have that happen for both of us while we're on the same team."
With Derek Roy and Tim Connolly out and Tyler Myers missing his second game in a row with the flu, the Sabres needed contributions elsewhere. They got plenty.
Defenseman Mike Weber got his first two NHL goals and had a three-point night after totaling just four points in his first 39 NHL games. Weber also had a plus-four rating. Luke Adam got his second NHL goal and Jochen Hecht, a huge goat in Calgary, bounced back with a solid two-way game and what proved to be the winning goal at 2:45 of the third period.
The Sabres fell behind on Dustin Penner's goal at 1:27 of the first period after a brutal giveaway by Tyler Ennis. They didn't have a shot for the first 9 1/2 minutes but ended the first period with 11. Adam got the Penner goal back at 17:48 with his second in the NHL after some yeoman work behind the net from Patrick Kaleta.
"[Miller] made some big saves there, especially in the third period, and it was nice I got to contribute," Adam said. "It was definitely a big goal for us."
Weber gave Buffalo the lead for keeps with a quick snap shot from the left point at 3:33 of the second period that whizzed all the way home, beating Nikolai Khabibulin high to the glove side as the screened goalie never moved.
"I'm not an offensive powerhouse but I was lucky to get a shot through, which is extremely tough to do in this league," Weber said.
"That's two big milestones for guys right there," Hecht said, referring to Miller and Weber. "We're very happy about that."
Weber sealed the win at 19:52 of the third by dribbling a 180-footer into the empty net.
"It's great anytime you get to see a guy get his first NHL goal, let alone get his second in the same game," coach Lindy Ruff said. "The enthusiasm on his face after he scored his first, everybody remembers their first NHL goal."
"I was praying it wouldn't go for icing," Weber said. "Some nights you have good bounces, and tonight was mine. People have to step up. I'm not saying I'm an offensive answer. Believe me, I'm not."
The Sabres had a closed-door meeting following the game in Calgary and Miller sensed the talk made a difference.
"It was a great all-around effort," he said. "We talked about reorganizing and everybody has to do their part, be prepared and focused the whole night. Tonight we shook off mistakes."
Slap shots: Miller becomes 67th NHL goalie to collect 200th NHL victory. Adam gets second NHL goal, Weber gets his first two.
Oilers' standout rookies held scoreless.
Fast fact: The Sabres have won five straight over Edmonton, dating to Oct. 16, 2003.
Next game: Saturday vs. Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. in HSBC Arena.