Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth has a 2.57 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. In 15 games, he has faced a total of 424 shots and turned away 387 of them. Enroth’s save percentage is better than that of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and St. Louis Blues starter Jaroslav Halak. His goals against average is better than the ones posted by Henrik Lundqvist, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky and Buffalo starter Ryan Miller. That is some pretty good company.
The problem is that Enroth’s record on the season is 1-9-4. If Ryan Miller were to leave town tomorrow, the Sabres would be left in the hands of a capable goalie who cannot win hockey games. Last night, Enroth had a lead against the Philadelphia Flyers when Buffalo forward Matt D’Agostini scored at the 6:27 mark of the third period. When Philly tied the game and then eventually took the lead, everyone thought the Enroth curse was on. A Tyler Ennis goal at 16:47 of the third tied the game and the team braced for overtime.
But the curse is strong with Enroth, and with 14.8 seconds left in the third period, Vincent Lecavalier put the Flyers ahead for good. The fans want to blame the new Sabres’ third jerseys — which make the team look like a bunch of mustard bottles with blue labels skating around the ice — but the truth is that Enroth was out of position and got beat by a good shot from a quality hockey player.
So now what? With the trade deadline getting closer every day and free agency looming after this season, fans are concerned that elite goaltender Ryan Miller will not be the difference maker in Buffalo much longer. The Sabres have made huge strides in creating a quality organization by hiring president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine, interim head coach Ted Nolan, general manager Tim Murray and special adviser Craig Patrick. But a winning environment doesn’t happen overnight, and Miller is not getting any younger.
When Ryan Miller was first named the Buffalo starter all those years ago, he said that he wanted to mark his time in Buffalo with Stanley Cup championships. All these years later, it does not look like Buffalo is any closer to a Stanley Cup than it was when Miller first started. Now there is a chance that Ted Nolan will have to make his second run at a Stanley Cup in Buffalo without the big name goalie he so desperately needs.
If the Sabres lose Miller, the team has plenty of options open to it. The Los Angeles Kings have three legitimate starting goaltenders on its roster, and Ben Scrivens is an unrestricted free agent when this season is over. But what about Enroth? Is he still an option to replace Miller someday or is the curse of Enroth something that Sabres fans just do not want to deal with as the team gears up for a championship run? Sabres fans want nothing to do with curses, and Jhonas Enroth is definitely cursed.