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In praise of Enroth: He's got every right to feel frustrated

Jhonas Enroth stymies Florida's Sean Bergenheim in the first period Thursday. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Mike Harrington

I'm going to give it up to Jhonas Enroth here. While watching last night's 2-1 shootout loss to Florida, you felt pangs of empathy for the guy. I still have no real idea if he can be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL -- specifically if he can be the guy if the Sabres trade Ryan Miller. His play in leading Sweden to a gold medal in last year's World Championships gives you pause to think he can but that's a short tournament, not a grueling NHL season.

Enroth has exactly one win this season in 13 starts. One. It was a 3-1 victory Oct. 25 at Florida, when he sparkled in making 44 of 45 saves.

Every other goalie in the NHL who has started at least 13 games this year has at least five wins.

Enroth has played 14 games, posting a 1-8-4 record with a 2.46 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Frankly, with that kind of record for this kind of team, that GAA and save percentage seems pretty darn good. And the numbers are bloated by his 6-3 loss here Nov. 2 to Anaheim, where the Ducks got all of their goals in the final 31 minutes. 

Let's play the numbers game a minute and take that one away (yes, I know you can't). Now Enroth would be 1-7-4, 2.18 and .925. Quite an improvement. 

The biggest issue, of course, is the Sabres don't score for him at all. Like he said last night in a quote that's getting a lot of run today: "I'm running out of answers. It's tough to win with this team."

Sure is. The Sabres have three goals in Enroth's last four starts, when he is 0-2-2, 1.97 and .935.

Last night was the eighth time this season the Sabres have been shut out or scored just once with Enroth in goal. They've scored just 17 goals in his 13 starts, a measly 1.31 per game. But it's not like they score a lot more for Miller either, with 53 goals in 30 starts or an average of 1.77 (not counting the five shootout winners on his behalf).

Enroth is the classic starting pitcher who never gets any run support and it's got to be driving him crazy.  His quote shows that it is. But I give the guy credit. His frustration isn't affecting his play. He's active in the crease and all those goalposts the Panthers hit weren't luck. A lot of them were a product of Enroth's angles.

Enroth can't score. All he can do is stop the puck. He's doing a pretty good job of that.


Jhonas Enroth | Statistics
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |