Ryan Miller may be providing a spark for the NHL-worst Buffalo
Sabres at home, but he’s not expected to get a chance to carry that
success onto the road.
With Jhonas Enroth scheduled to spell Miller, the Sabres will
try to win on the road for the first time in almost two months
Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
Miller is 5-1-1 with a 1.65 goals-against average over his last
seven games, and all of those victories have come at home behind a
1.34 GAA and .962 save percentage.
The 2010 Vezina Trophy winner was fantastic again Sunday, making
a season-high 49 saves before turning aside all six shootout
attempts in a 2-1 win over Washington. That’s expected to be
Miller’s final performance before the United States roster for the
Olympics is revealed Wednesday.
“You have to project further out and we need Jhonas to be
ready,” Miller told the team’s official website of his scheduled
day off. “And it’s an Olympic year. We’re factoring in the
possibility of more travel and playing time for maybe both of us.
The idea is to balance it out a little more.”
Enroth, a likely selection for Sweden at Sochi, hasn’t been
nearly as effective as his teammate. He’s 0-5-2 with a 2.87 GAA in
eight games – seven starts – since making 44 saves in a 3-1 win at
Florida on Oct. 25.
Interim coach Ted Nolan, though, isn’t putting much blame on
“If you look at the goaltending we have, we have pretty good
goaltending,” he said. “So if we play honestly in front of them,
we’ll have good chances (to win).”
Buffalo hasn’t done that on the road since beating San Jose 5-4
in a shootout on Nov. 5. Since then, the Sabres have been outscored
30-12 during a nine-game skid (0-7-2) away from home.
Visiting Winnipeg (18-18-5) may not end their troubles,
The Sabres have lost four in a row on the road to the Jets,
including all three meetings in Winnipeg after they relocated from
Atlanta. However, Buffalo rallied with four unanswered goals to
beat the Jets 4-2 at home Dec. 17.
Enroth has a 2.00 GAA while losing both of his meetings, but
this will be his first appearance at MTS Centre.
The Jets are aiming for a three-game winning streak and some
Blake Wheeler came up with the heroics Sunday, scoring with 1.1
seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 win at Colorado. That came two
days after Winnipeg beat Minnesota 6-4 following a 2-5-1 stretch
that included the defeat at Buffalo.
“I think we’ve definitely learned from the past that we’re going
to treat every game as if we’re going to play the best team in the
league,” left wing Eric Tangradi said. “We know that if we don’t
play our best game, we’re not going to win hockey games in this
“We have to play a full 60 minutes.”
Another big performance from Wheeler would also help.
The right wing’s 10 goals are among the league leaders for this
month, and he’s scored seven of them in four straight games at
home. A goal Tuesday would make him the first Jets/Thrashers player
to score in five straight home games since Slava Kozlov did it with
Atlanta from March 16-April 1, 2009.
Wheeler has one goal in each of his last two home meetings with
the Sabres, but came up empty on two shots at Buffalo earlier this