The Buffalo Sabres made it two in a row with a victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night at First Niagara Centre. Netminder Jhonas Enroth also earned his second win in as many games.
Now sporting 42 points, the Sabres hold the number 10 slot in the Eastern Conference standings, placing them four points from the 8th place New York Rangers. With just five games left in this shortened season, the guys really need to focus and give it all they got in order to make the playoffs.
Said Tyler Ennis: “You know, we’ve got nothing to lose. We’ve gotta go after it.”
Putting Buffalo on the board were Ennis, Jochen Hecht, and Kevin Porter. Ennis’ goal was his first in 12 games, while Porter continued his four-game point streak.
“There’s a lot of things we’re doing right right now,” said Enroth.
Things such as staying in control, making contact with the puck, and power-play points all contributed to the Buffalo win this evening.
In the first stanza, Ennis opened the scoring on the power-play, just 13 seconds after Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos was penalized for slashing. Upon a pass from Christian Erhoff, Thomas Vanek slid the puck to Ennis, who was right on net to dump it in at 4:09.
“There’s not too many guys in the league that can make that pass. All I had to do was just slide it in,” said Ennis of Vanek. Things were looking up for the Sabres.
The Sabres went up by two when Hecht made his mark eight minutes into the middle period. Upon a pass from Nathan Gerbe, Hecht skated up the right side and wristed a quick one past Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon.
Buffalo made its mark for a third time at 12:37. Back in the Buffalo zone, Ott slips the puck to Porter, who carries it up the left side and passes to Brian Flynn in a two-on-one attempt. Flynn passes back to Porter, who then tips it past Garon for his fourth tally of the season.
However, Tampa Bay wasn’t about to let a three-goal lead get them down. The club managed to get on the board tonight with 6:30 remaining in the second. The lone tally came from Beniot Pouliot, after the puck was deflected in front of Enroth at 13:30. Eric Brewer and captain Vinny LeCavalier are credited with the pair of assists.
The final period proved uneventful, as the contest maintained its 3-1 score for the entire 20 minutes. However, the lack of goals proved Buffalo’s strength for a full 60 minutes of play, where they often slack in the final set. They were in control.
“We just try to keep working hard and stick to our game plan all night,” Enroth said following the win. He also commented on being given the opportunity to play this weekend.
“It feels good to get a couple more games and be a bigger part of the team.”
Enroth finished the game with 32 saves, while also earning the first star of the night. Flynn and Porter earned the 2nd and 3rd stars.
The Sabres resume play Wednesday night in Boston, as they tackle the Bruins in a 7:30 matchup.