Searching for a breakthrough

enroth2It’s been an unusual year for the Sabres goaltenders, but Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth have both been named to their respective Olympic teams. Even with playing on arguably the NHL’s worst team, Miller and Enroth have both been playing well, despite what the win/loss column shows.

We’ve discussed earlier this season how Miller has been playing well, and even better, than in recent seasons. He’s has just not gotten much help in front of him. The same can be said for Enroth, who holds a 1-10-5 record. His save percentage has dipped down to .906 and his GAA sits at 2.80.

The backup goaltender has not had much luck at all this season, even though he’s had some great performances.

In 16 starts this season for Enroth, the Sabres have scored two goals or less 11 times. Buffalo has had trouble scoring in general, but asking a backup goaltender to come in and perform well with such little support is a tough task.

“I’m running out of answers. It’s hard to win with this team,” Enroth said after a loss to Carolina. 

It’s been difficult to judge Enroth’s season, but as of late, he finally received the help he was looking for. 

During his past three starts the Sabres have scored 10 goals and at least three in each game. However, Enroth was unable to take advantage and recorded a loss in all three. 

The Sabres have always played better in front of Miller, but that couldn’t be any clearer this season. Fans have seen Enroth and how good he can be, but whenever he starts, things just don’t go his way.

“It’s part of being a goaltender,” Enroth said. “You’ve got to forgot what happens and try to save the next puck all the time.”

10/5@ PIT1L
10/25@ FLA3W
11/7@ LA0L
11/16@ TOR2L
11/30@ NJ0OL
12/7@ MON2L
12/21@ BOS1L
12/31@ WPG0L

With Buffalo rebuilding and the futures of many players up in the air, Enroth will get his chances. He’s played at the NHL level for a few years now. It’s a matter of when he can break this slump that he is in as he has dropped the past 12 starts.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Late last season, Enroth went 13 consecutive games without a win, which was the longest streak of any NHL goaltender. He snapped that with after a 3-1 victory against the Rangers. 

Enroth recorded the only shutout of the season last year for Buffalo, and the Sabres don’t have one yet this year either. He has recorded at least one in each of the past three seasons, excluding this one. 

His struggle are not entirely his fault, but he isn’t helping himself either. When he gives his team a chance, the offense doesn’t come through, and vice versa. There’s a big portion of the season still remaining, but it’s important for Enroth to start earning some victories and build confidence going forward.


Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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