Ryan Miller went to the Eastern Conference finals each of the last two seasons. The Buffalo Sabres fell short of a shot at the Stanley Cup in both years then took steps back after co-captains Chris Drury and Danny Briere left for lucrative free-agent contracts in the Atlantic Division. But writing off the Sabres might have been a bit premature. Miller hasn?t given up on his team, maintaining the confidence he had before the season that his club could still contend for big things. The netminder knows his role in that success is huge, and he isn?t shying away from lofty goals for the Sabres or himself. "I feel like I?m competing a lot more, lately. We?re coming along better," Miller said last week after a 42-save effort in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. "You play better when everyone is getting into it, and we?re there for each other. We?re showing signs of playing responsible hockey." Buffalo (19-14-1) stumbled out of the gate to the tune of a 6-10-1 mark, with Miller absorbing the loss in all but one game.