For the second time in 24 hours, the Sabres earned a regulation win. This time, they defeated Tampa Bay by a 3-1 score on Sunday at the First Niagara Center.
Jhonas Enroth got his 2nd straight start after his shutout performance against Philadelphia on Saturday, and allowed one goal on 33 shots.
“There’s a lot of things we’re doing right right now,” Enroth said. “We just tried to keep working hard and stick to our game plan.”
Thomas Vanek’s success against Tampa Bay continued with an assist. He came into the game with 23 goals and 12 assists in 30 career games against the Lightning.
Just 13 seconds with the power play and Thomas Vanek set up Tyler Ennis with an empty net chance, and he buried it. The goal broke an 11 game scoreless drought for Ennis, who hadn’t scored since March 21st.
“Vanek made an amazing pass to me, and anyone could’ve put that in,” Ennis said. “Seemed like forever since that last time I scored.”
Jochen Hecht bumped the Sabres lead up to 2-0 after he beat Garon on a partial breakaway.
Later in the 2nd period after ruining a 2-on-1 rush, Brian Flynn fed Kevin Porter a pass in front of the net that was tipped in, putting the Sabres up 3-0. With the assist, Porter now has seven points in his last seven games. He also extended his point streak to a career-best four games.
“Wasn’t my ideal play, but found the back of the net, so it was good,” Porter said. “Kind of a bad pass, but he recovered and made a nice play to the slot.”
Tampa Bay responded less than a minute later as Benoit Pouliot beat Jhonas Enroth. The goal was the first Enroth had given up in over 130 minutes.
After the game, Enroth was asked whether or not he thought he would make a third straight start.
“We stil have one of the world’s best goalies in here in [Miller], so we’ll see what happens,” Enroth said.
With the win, the Sabres move to four points out of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, but have just five games remaining.
“I think the guys in the room believe that they’re a playoff team,” said head coach Ron Rolston.
Ennis said that this team has to keep focusing and working down the stretch.
“Right now we have nothing to lose,” Ennis said. “We’re playing well, but we have some tough games coming up, but we’re going to have to continue to get better.”
The Sabres are off until Wednesday, when they will be in Boston to take on the Bruins. That game is schedule to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will air on NBC Sports Network.