MONTREAL -- Jhonas Enroth will start, Patrick Lalime will be the backup and Ryan Miller will watch from the press box. That's how the Buffalo Sabres goaltending situation shakes down for tonight's game against the Canadiens in the Bell Centre.
Miller's streak of 31 straight starts ends but he's scheduled to play tomorrow in Buffalo against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Enroth, meanwhile, plays his first NHL game since his 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 24. He's 2-2-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .897 save percentage this year for the Sabres and 18-14-1, 2.83, .910 at Portland.
"Playing against Montreal is something very huge," Enroth said after the team's morning skate in the Bell Centre. "It's a big arena and I'm real excited for tonight."
Why Enroth over Lalime?
"Jhonas has been playing. Part of Jhonas' development has been to get him a lot of games," said coach Lindy Ruff. "We got him some games early and he played well. He's been playing. In Pat's case, we've got him in a tough spot because he hasn't played. This is an opportunity to give Jhonas another game."
Ruff said Lalime may go to Portland for conditioning like he did last year. Ruff said there's been no decision made about Enroth past tonight.
"Our plan was to get Jhonas ready to play in the NHL. He's been down in Portland, had his ups and downs," Ruff said. "But when he's been called up on to play, he's held himself real well. We look at this as an opportunity to take a look at him. We want him to come in and help us win another game."
Paul Byron stays with the team and will play tonight. Patrick Kaleta, still struggling with his bad hand, is sitting. So is Steve Montador, who must be on longterm IR because the team has 24 players (like most transactions, that hasn't been announced). Montador's IR stint can be made retroactive to Feb. 6, however, and he could certainly play tomorrow.
Former Sabre Jaroslav Spacek is a game-time decision for the Habs with a lower-body injury. Montreal practiced this morning at its suburban complex.