PITTSBURGH -- Jhonas Enroth gets the call in goal tonight as the Sabres meet the Penguins in Consol Energy Center and coach Lindy Ruff insisted after today's optional skate that he's turning over a new leaf in the way he uses his backup goalie.
"We plan on using Jhonas a fair amount," Ruff said. "So in back to back situations we're defeinitely going to use him. The overall plan for him is every three or four games to get him in. He had a great preaseason for us, had a great finish to the year for us so I don't have any hesitation putting Jhonas in."
Ruff, of course, has had plenty of second thoughts about using backups since Martin Biron was traded in 2007. But Enroth seems like he won the coach over with his play last March when Ryan Miller was injured. Enroth was 9-2-2 overall last season with a 2.73 goals against average.
"We've got faith he can play well for us and that's important," Ruff said. "We're in a busy part of our schedule and we're looking for him to step in."
"I'm very excited," said Enroth, who has been idle since the Oct. 4 exhibition in Mannheim, Germany. " It's going to be a lot of fun to finally get a game under my belt."
Although Enroth is used to being a starter, he said he's adjusting to the fact he won't be getting every-day work.
"The biggest difference is you have to practice harder, stay out there a little bit longer every day and try to stay sharp that way," he said. "When it comes to a game, it's always the same thing."
More from the pregame skates:
---The Sabres will continue to scratch Jochen Hecht, Matt Ellis and Mike Weber, who is a Pittsburgh native. Cheap plug: Read more from Weber in Sunday's Sabres notebook.
---Sidney Crosby skated fully for the Penguins but there is no timetable as to when he will return from his concussion. Crosby does not speak to the media on gamedays while he is not in the lineup. Evgeni Malkin (leg) is out tonight while East Amherst's Brooks Orpik (abdominal) skated on his own prior to the team. Coach Dan Bylsma said Orpik, who has yet to play this year, is improving.
Bylsma noted the two short-handed goals the Sabres gave up last night against Carolina and said teams that play 1-3-1 sets or four forwards on their power play (Buffalo does both) can be susceptible to quick breakouts if they lose puck battles along the boards. The Penguins are dangerous killing penalties but Ruff said the Sabres won't change their approach.
"We're not going to get defensive on the power play," he said. "We're just going to make some smarter decisions. ... There's no chance you're going to be successful on the power play if you take a defensive approach. We're not going to do that. If you give up the odd opportunity being overly aggressive, that's OK but we're not going to do what we did last night."
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