Double Minors: Sabres 3 – Penguins 2
A strong bounce-back effort, led by Jhonas Enroth’s 29 saves, gave Buffalo their first win against Pittsburgh since 2009.
While the Sabres power play didn’t get on the score sheet, they were better in controlling the puck and didn’t allow a half-dozen odd-man rushes. The penalty kill was called on only once, but answered the bell, they have killed 13 of 15 chances against for a respectable 86.7% rate.
Enroth was the story of the game, he made several sparkling saves, including a point-blank opportunity while the Penguins skated with six men. Entering the year, Enroth was expected to be a significant upgrade over the past two backup goaltenders. He seems fit for the task as he played a sharp game despite a layoff of over a week.
While the Sabres do not see a back-to-back set again until November, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Enroth get another Saturday start in Tampa. He could also get the nod as the Lightning return to Buffalo next Tuesday to close a home-and-home set.
- Luke Adam doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. He has found great chemistry with linemates Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. The top scoring line has found the net in all four games, accounting for 18 total points along the way (7+11). In addition, Vanek, Adam and Pominville are the top three scorers on the roster, respectively.
- While Jochen Hecht may not bump Luke Adam from the lineup, there is probably a good chance that he bumps Brad Boyes or Cody McCormick from their spots. It will be a tough choice, despite Boyes’ struggles last night, as the Boyes-Leino-Ennis line continues to create chances and carry the play and McCormick offers a a physical edge that would be significantly decrease if he were to be pulled from the lineup. The one plus will be Hecht’s addition to the penalty kill. While the shorthanded unit has been stout, Hecht has long been one of Buffalo’s most responsible defensive forwards, his addition will make the unit much better.
- Marc-Andre Gragnani has had two tough games in a row. He made a few bad choices with the puck against Carolina and had similar trouble yesterday in the Steel City. Mike Weber will likely see some time in the near future, particularly if Gragnani continues to struggle. While he has become a fixture on the top power play unit, I have to think Andrej Sekera brings the same benefits that Gragnani offers to the unit.
- The power play, after converting three of eight chances in Europe (37.5%), has gone 0-7 since returning to North America. Christian Ehrhoff’s spot on the top unit is somewhat perplexing. As a defenseman acquired to boost the power play with his shot, Ehrhoff has been playing to the top of the right faceoff circle rather than the top of the unit. While it is still a prime shooting location, he has begun to drift low on many plays, effectively eliminating himself as a shooter. I’d like to see him at the top of the set up in order to capitalize on his shot.
1. Luke Adam
2. Nathan Gerbe
3. James Neal