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Game #77 Recap: Enroth Puts On Show For Mom And Dad

03/30/11
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At long last, the Buffalo Sabres have a back-up goaltender who can not only play well and not only win, but also pitch shutouts when the goaltender at the other end of the ice is playing lights out himself. And so Jhonas Enroth shut out one of his idols in front of his parents, who watched him play live for the first time in two years.

The second to the last in my preview said “They need to keep it ugly in the best way possible.” I had no idea how right I would be. The Sabres looked sloppy early, but otherwise straight-up locked it down all night. That it took the Rangers until midway through the 3rd period to record their 20th shot on goal is very telling of the home team’s performance in the neutral zone and shooting lanes.

A couple of things pop out at you when you watch Enroth play – his calm demeanor and his swivel-like head. He never loses sight of the puck and when he’s forced to move, it’s with calculated measure and not nervous abandon. He didn’t look nearly NHL ready last season but he’s definitely punched his ticket with his sterling play as Miller’s relief.

Besides Enroth recording his first shutout, and sixth win, in the NHL, the story tonight was special teams stepping up. The penalty kill continued to be a well-oiled machine while the maligned power play was the difference maker in the offensive end of the ice. Tim Connolly’s power play goal was a thing of beauty, a scorching shot from inside the face-off circle. It’s always good to see the oft-criticized dangler use his shot, which is underrated and zippy.

For now the Sabres are in 7th but that may change tomorrow with the Rangers taking on the Islanders. The Sabres take the ice next in Washington versus the Capitals. Will Enroth start again or will Miller be healthy enough to come back?

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