The Buffalo Sabres 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday wasn’t just a big deal because it ended a four-game slide. The win also saw goaltender Jhonas Enroth snap a personal winless streak that stretched back to November of 2011, spanning 13 decisions. Enroth got the rare start in net with Ryan Miller sidelined due to a sinus infection, and was in top form all night, turning aside 32 shots from the Rangers.
Enroth’s winless streak was the longest among current NHL goaltenders. Playing behind Miller allows him precious few chances to play, and even fewer when he isn’t performing well. This season he has appeared in only five games and sports a 1-2-0 record with a 3.25 goals against average. It was a relief for the Sabres to see him play so well on Tuesday after he had played well against the New Jersey Devils but had to leave near the end of regulation due to cramping in his legs after surrendering the game-tying goal to the Devils’ Patrik Elias.
Last season Enroth saw action in 26 games, a career-high. He was 8-11-4 with a 2.70 goal against average and had a streak of points in 14 straight games before the winless streak started. With their backup netminder set to be a restricted free agent at season’s end, the Sabres will face a tough decision on whether they want to keep him around or let him have the chance to compete for a starting job somewhere else. His current $625,000 salary is a bargain if he’s able to get a few wins when Miller has the night off, and he would likely command a higher price on the open market.