Niagara Gazette

Sports

November 12, 2011

Enroth impresses again in Sabres' fourth straight win

BUFFALO —  

The question won’t go away. Not with hot rookie Jhonas Enroth winning every start. Not with decorated starter Ryan Miller enduring a career-worst slump.

Who’s really the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie?

The Sabres’ 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday will only increase speculation. In his third start in four games, Enroth, the supposed backup, dazzled again, stopping 36 shots.

The 23-year-old Swede improved to 5-0 while lowering his goals-against average to 1.34 andraising his save percentage to .956.

Naturally, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t reveal which goalie will start tonight in Boston. Ruff said Friday morning he had set a goaltending schedule, although he’s already tweaked that a few times this year, including last Saturday in Ottawa, when he gave Enroth a second straight start.

This time, however, Ruff said, “We’re going to try to stick to it.”

Still, the Sabres have won four straight for the first time since April. Enroth has three of the wins. In Miller’s lone triumph, a 6-5 overtime decision Tuesday against Winnipeg, he allowed three early goals for the second straight start. Miller’s goal-against average over his five-game funk is 4.10.

Incredibly, Enroth’s 12-0-1 in his last 13 decisions going back to last season. He hasn’t lost in regulation since Nov. 24.

Does he feel unbeatable?

“Not really. I know I have to stay humble,” Enroth said. “Hockey is a sport that can turn around quick. I’m just trying to go out there and play every game like it was my last game.”

Enroth had plenty of help against the Senators, as the Sabres scored three first-period goals for the second straight contest. The Sabres also kept most of the shots to the outside. Ruff counted only five Ottawa scoring chances.

Fresh off Tuesday’s sloppy effort, the Sabres needed to clamp down before the capacity crowd of 18,690 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

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