By Mike Harrington
I'm sure the folks at NBC Sports Network, which will be sending tonight's Sabres-Flyers game nationwide, aren't happy to hear this. Probably some Sabres season ticket-holders aren't happy either but the schedule is the schedule. With the team in the midst of three games in four nights, Ryan Miller will not be in goal tonight.
Jhonas Enroth gets the start against Philadelphia and will be opposed by Steve Mason. Miller, of course, owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (with a career-best 31-15-3 record and four shutouts against them), so he will play tomorrow night in Air Canada Centre.
The narrative thus switches away from Miller's continued white-hot play to whether or not the Sabres will ever score any goals for Enroth. Be sure to double back to my post from Friday for more on the topic, but the upshot is this: Enroth is 0-2-2 in his last four starts despite a glossy 1.97 GAA and .935 save percentage in that span because the team has scored just three goals in those games.
Even worse, Enroth is 1-8-4 on the season largely because the team has scored just 17 goals in his 13 starts.
"He's been unlucky, been playing great all year," Ville Leino said today. "Certainly guys are on his side here and want to give him a win. We want to try to be extra sure we work hard today, defend well in front of him. But saying that, the best defense can be a good offense and scoring goals by creating offensive zone time."
"Since I've been here, it's nothing but positive. We have a lot of trust in both goaltenders," said interim coach Ted Nolan. "He's played some great games and we're going to let him do his thing and hopefully we get a couple for him."
Nolan can't speak for earlier in the season when he wasn't here but I can say the Sabres seem much more sure in front of Enroth than they have been in the post.
"We all trust him. He's a good goalie," Leino said. "This year, our goaltending has been unbelievable. I don't think there was a time we didn't trust him."
Drew Stafford took the morning skate but Nolan said he will not play tonight and could be targeting the Toronto game for his return. John Scott will again be a healthy scratch.
It's kind of weird to think this is the Flyers' only trip here this season. They were here five times (counting playoffs) in the 2010-11 season. Philly has lost two straight for the first time since late November. but the Flyers are 7-3 in their last 10 -- and 22-12-4 since an ugly 1-7 start. Coach Peter Laviolette was fired when the team was 0-3 and it took Craig Berube a few games to get things turned around.
taggedJhonas Enroth | Sabres game day