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Game #65 Recap: Enroth Asks “What’s ‘Regulation’?”

03/06/11
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Welcome to 8th place, your Buffalo Sabres!

In yet another victory that required more than the regulation 60 minutes to wrap with Jhonas Enroth in net, the Sabres leapfrogged the idle Hurricanes to take over sole possession of 8th place. The contest had a little of everything – pretty passing, nonstop end-to-end action, clutch goaltendi0ng, and another blown two goal lead. This time, Enroth held the fort as the Sabres battled back from their tie to win in overtime.

The play opened with the prettiest goal of the season, courtesy of the new top line of Vanek-Boyes-Pominville with a lot of help from Steve Montador. The passing, distinctly reminiscent of a beautiful soccer play, resulted in Pominville continuing his annual late season surge. The primary pass may have been from Montador to Pommer, but Vanek continues to exert his newfound leadership on the ice.

It closed in extra time in equally pretty fashion, with Drew Stafford taking a play out of Jason Pominville’s book and going ’06 Ottawa series on the Wild. It was a huge goal for the Sabres, but moreso for Stafford who is looking to get back to consistency after vanishing from the scoresheet for a while. This is two straight games he has goals in again, which is a great start.

The Sabres continued to forecheck with impunity, with Rob Niedermayer scoring by crashing the crease, but overall the team didn’t get to skate around the front of the net much. They did have some sustained shifts of unending pressure, but it was notably less than most recent games. They did markedly improve the defensive breakouts again and with it the transition game was also better. It was surprising to see so much back and forth action against an alleged trap team.

And how about Jhonas Enroth? He made some spectacular saves tonight to make up for the two shots he let beat him. Out of his 24 saves, his biggest was against was stopping Andrew Brunette on a breakaway in the third period that would’ve snapped the 2-2 tie. Read more about the Sabres’ young netminder tomorrow morning when The Goalie Guild answers some questions I had for him about Enroth.

Yet again, tonight’s triumph was the biggest win of the season…until the next one. With the Rangers and Hurricanes both off until Wednesday, the Sabres game in Pittsburgh is huge. Not only can the Sabres pull away from the Hurricanes with a win of any kind, but they would also tie the Rangers for 7th and surprass them with games played tiebreakers. This roadie closes out with the game on Tuesday followed by a visit to Boston on Thursday. We’ll have to wait and see what both Ennis’ and Kaleta’s statuses are in the coming days.

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