By Mike Harrington
Lineup notes first from Ron Rolston after today's optional morning skate: Thomas Vanek will not play tonight against Washington but did take the morning skate and looked a little better, so it's possible he could play tomorrow against Boston. John Scott and Mark Pysyk will be healthy scratches, with Brian Flynn back in the lineup tonight after sitting out Thursday's shootout loss at Florida.
Jhonas Enroth will be in goal, looking for his third straight win. Enroth is 2-0-1 in three starts under Rolston, posting a 1.66 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. He's stopped 64 of 67 shots in the last two, wins over the New York Rangers and Montreal.
The numbers alone say Enroth's confidence is dramatically rising, especially in the wake of snapping his 16-month winless skid March 12 against the Rangers.
"He's been battling. He's been very quick, tracking pucks really well," Rolston said. "He's prepared himself where he's built his confidence up and feeling good about going in the net. He had went a long time there without winning a game. Mentally I think more than anything it was something he needed to go in there and just have a solid performance, whether it was a win or loss, and just to feel good about where his game was at and he's been able to do that and build on that."
The numbers are great and the eye test with Enroth is better as well. He looks quicker in the crease but his body is under control and he's out challenging more shooters.
"It was more just feeling good about himself,' Rolston said. "As his confidence built, you could see that in his game and in practice you could see his energy, see him stopping more pucks and stopping more second-chance pucks around the net. It was just his pscyhe and feeling good about where he was."
Click below to hear Rolston's session with reporters today, where he discusses Enroth, Pysyk and Flynn and the Sabres' struggling penalty kill, which has slipped to 27th in the NHL.