|THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT |
|Gragnani || |
|Enroth || |
|GWG ||35 SVS |
|5 shots, 3 hits |
| || || |
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Jhonas Enroth stopped every clean shot the Carolina Hurricanes threw his way. A fluky shot somehow got past his Carolina counterpart, and that bit of good fortune put the Buffalo Sabres in pretty good shape for the playoffs.
Enroth made 35 saves before Marc-Andre Gragnani scored a deflected goal 2:56 into overtime to lift the Sabres past the Hurricanes 2-1 on Sunday night.
"It's no secret Jhonas was our best player," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said... More
Marc-Andre Gragnani picked a perfect time to score his first goal in the National Hockey League. With 2:04 remaining in the overtime period, the rookie defenseman fired a shot from the left point that got past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to give Buffalo a crucial victory. After Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe worked the puck around the offensive zone, Gerbe got it to Gragnani while Stafford provided a screen in front of the net, which drew in a Carolina defenseman and created traffic in front of Ward. Gragnani quickly took a wrist shot that got through for the game-winner. After being called up from Portland last week and earning AHL First Team All-Star honors, Gragnani has been involved in each of the last two game-winning goals by the Sabres. It was his big defensive play last Wednesday against the Rangers that led to the only goal in a 1-0 Sabres win.
With time winding down on the regular season, every game seems to take on more importance than the last. For the second time in five days, Jhonas Enroth
led the Sabres to a crucial victory over a team with which they are battling for a playoff berth. Enroth made 35 saves to lead Buffalo to a 2-1 overtime win over Carolina as they earned an extra point on the road. Enroth made several difficult saves, particularly in the second period when he stopped all 15 shots that Carolina fired at him and helped kill off a 5-on-3 shorthanded situation. The win improves Enroth’s record on the season to 7-2-2. He has allowed two or fewer goals in six of his 10 appearances with the Sabres this season.
- By winning in overtime, the Sabres gained one point over the ninth-place Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings and now lead them by three points with three games remaining in the regular season.
It’s huge. I’m not going to sidestep that one. That was a big win for us in this building. If they win, it’s a lot different scenario in the standings. Us winning, it gives us a little bit of an edge again.” - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
- The Sabres improved their record over the last 21 games to 13-4-4, a run that dates back to Feb. 23. During that stretch, they have not lost consecutive games.
- The Sabres won in overtime for the ninth time this season and have gotten overtime goals from seven different players.
- Jhonas Enroth
started in goal for the third straight game as Ryan Miller
remains day-to-day with an upper body injury. Prior to the game, Lindy Ruff said he anticipates Miller getting back on the ice on Monday.
- Chris Butler opened the scoring by netting his first goal of the season at 10:47 of the first period. It was his first goal in 69 games dating back to last season.
- Drew Stafford
collected two assists to reach the 50-point mark for the season (30-20-50). He was also a +2 and logged 20:38 of ice time, the most among Sabres forwards. After scoring two goals against Washington on Saturday, he now has four points in the last two games.
- Thomas Vanek
was held without a point for the first time in six games while Tim Connolly had his four-game point streak snapped.
- Eric Stall scored Carolina’s first goal to earn his 500th NHL point.
- Tyler Ennis
assisted on Butler’s goal to break a four-game pointless streak.
- Mike Weber
logged 24:53 of ice time and registered seven hits – both are season-highs.
- Ryan Miller
(upper body), Jochen Hecht
(upper body), Mike Grier (knee), Jordan Leopold
(hand) and Patrick Kaleta
(bone bruise in leg) were all sidelined for Buffalo.
- Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn was a healthy scratch.
- Forward Troy Bodie and defenseman Jay Harrison were out of the lineup for Carolina.
With the conclusion of this weekend’s two-game road trip, the Sabres now have three games remaining in the regular season. They will get back to work on Tuesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Buffalo for the first time since Nov. 20. The Lightning won the first two meetings of the season between the clubs, but the Sabres won the last matchup when their offense erupted in a 7-4 road win back on Feb. 8. Buffalo trailed 3-1 in that game, but roared back with six straight goals, including five in the third period. Drew Stafford recorded one of his four hat tricks on the season to lead the way. The Lightning currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and have already clinched a playoff spot. The team is led by Martin St. Louis (30-64-94) and Steven Stamkos (44-45-89), both of whom rank among the top five scorers in the NHL.