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Foligno's pair helps Enroth get first win

by Chris Ryndak

BUFFALO -- For Marcus Foligno and Jhonas Enroth, two long droughts came to an end Tuesday night.

Foligno scored twice and Enroth made 32 saves in his first win of the season as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 at First Niagara Center.

Foligno had gone 20 games without scoring before finding the back of the net early in the second period, and Enroth had gone nearly a year-and-a-half since earning a win between the pipes.

"It was my first goal of the season in front of the fans and it was overdue," Foligno said.

Enroth made his fourth start of the season, but his first at home since Jan. 7, 2012. Ryan Miller was relegated to the backup role due to a sinus infection. Enroth didn't find out he was starting until he arrived at the arena Tuesday morning.

He started Buffalo's game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday but had to leave with 1:06 to play in a tied third period after cramping up. Prior to that game, Miller had started 14 in a row.

Tuesday marked Enroth's first victory since Nov. 26, 2011 against the Washington Capitals.

"It feels good right now to finally get that win," Enroth said.

Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres. Defenseman Andrej Sekera had two assists, extending his point streak to three games. Rookie wing Brian Flynn also recorded an assist and has two goals and an assist in his past three games.

Derek Stepan scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves.

Rangers coach John Tortorella was irate after the game and expressed disappointment in his team's effort.

"I thought we stunk and I'm not going to give Buffalo any credit. Well, I will give their third line credit. They outplayed our top players and that can't happen," Tortorella said. "… That team was ripe to be beaten and we simply did not play the way we were supposed to play."

The Sabres' third line, consisting of Foligno, Flynn and center Kevin Porter, finished the night with three points and seven shots on goal.

Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston has been impressed with that line for a few games now and was pleased with Foligno's physical play around the net against the Rangers.

"We've really liked that line lately and he's been a big part of that, using his size and being physical," Rolston said. "…We've seen Marcus continue to build and that's probably his best game, I think, since I've been here."

Buffalo recorded its first win in four games and its first non-shootout win since Feb. 26. New York, which had won five of its past six, will move on to face the Winnipeg Jets in the third of a four-game road trip Thursday.

Vanek gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead with 7:20 to play in the second period. Sabres captain Jason Pominville wired a pass across the ice from behind Buffalo's blue line up the left wing to Vanek. The puck ricocheted off the boards and Vanek put it on his tape as he broke in over the Rangers line and past defenseman Dan Girardi. Vanek snapped a shot over Lundqvist's blocker for his 14th goal this season.

Vanek's goal came at even strength, but Buffalo used eight minutes of power-play time to outshoot New York 12-5 in the second period. The Rangers killed off all of five of the Sabres' opportunities with the man advantage.

"We can't take that many penalties. When you're shorthanded, you're exhausting your penalty killers and other guys are sitting for a while," Rangers forward Micheal Haley said. "[Lundqvist] made some big saves also."

Enroth did his part to preserve the 2-1 lead. With 14:17 to play in the third, he deflected a wrist shot from in close by Haley with his blocker and away from Stepan, who was waiting on the doorstep. With 10:11 left and on the penalty kill, Enroth speared a point shot from Michael Del Zotto with his glove.

"I felt very confident and I had control of every shot," Enroth said. "I didn't give up any bad rebounds and stuff like that, so it was pretty much a perfect game for me."

Stepan opened the scoring 4:17 into the second period with a shorthanded goal. He intercepted a pass to the point, sent it to Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and raced down the ice. Callahan drove deep into the Buffalo zone and in around defenseman Tyler Myers at the goal line. Jordan Leopold didn't pick up Stepan up in front of the net and Stepan one-timed it for his seventh of the season.

The goal was New York's second shorthanded goal of 2013. Rich Nash scored the other on Jan. 20 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Buffalo quickly tied it 1-1. Foligno scored his second of the season 1:18 later when he collected a Christian Ehrhoff shot from off the end boards. With Lundqvist out of position, Foligno put the puck between his legs and jammed it in along the right post.

"It looked a little nicer than I thought it was," Foligno said. "My stick just got caught between my legs and I put in it, so it was good to get that first one."

Foligno made it 3-1 with 8:12 remaining. Parked to the left of Lundqvist, he knocked in a rebound that came off a wrist shot from the point by Sekera. Flynn made a head's up play along the half wall to get the puck to Sekera.

"Right now, we're just gaining a little [of confidence] as we go. I think we feel comfortable with each other as linemates, build a little bit of chemistry, which is very important," Flynn said.

Lundqvist made two tremendous stops with less than eight minutes to play in the first period to keep the game scoreless. First, he kicked out his right pad to stop a one-timer from Vanek. As Vanek made his way to the top of the crease to collect the bouncing puck, Lundqvist stacked his left pad while down on the ice to deflect the rebound away. Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer, was left shaking his head as he made his way to the bench after the shift.

Lundqvist stopped Vanek again with less than a minute remaining in the first, then made a lunging kick save with his left pad on defenseman Robyn Regehr's point shot on the rebound.

The Rangers nearly scored another shorthanded goal on a Sabres power play late in the second period. Enroth made a kick save with his left pad to deny a one-timer from Del Zotto, on a play that looked quite similar to the one the Rangers scored on earlier.

Beating a fellow Swedish goaltender in Lundqvist is a memory Enroth said he's going to hold very dear.

"That's my big idol and that's something special for me to beat him here," Enroth said. "It's something I'm going to remember forever."

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