Ennis scores lone goal as Sabres, Enroth shut out Kings
When asked what he wanted from his struggling power play, Buffalo Sabres coach Nolan quipped, "A goal."
Tyler Ennis granted that wish with a third-period, power play tally, and the Sabres got 34 saves from Jhonas Enroth in a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
"We did some extra time with them here (Monday) and it was good to get one," Nolan said. "It's good for your confidence, especially in a game like this."
The game winner snapped a four game, 11-chance run without a power play goal, and ended a two-game losing streak. Buffalo won its third straight at home.
Enroth was superb in his first shutout since April 13, 2013, and wasn't troubled despite the Kings' 34-16 shots advantage.
"This was actually one of my easier games," Enroth said. "Everything was pretty controlled. I put myself in a good position and was pretty sharp all the way through."
The Sabres kept up their home mastery of the Kings. Los Angeles is 1-11-1-1 in its last 14 games in Buffalo. The defending champion Kings lost consecutive games for the fourth time this season.
Jonathan Quick had a shutout streak of 119 minutes, 54 seconds against Buffalo snapped by Ennis. Quick blanked the Sabres on Oct. 23 in Los Angeles.
The game marked the second meeting between Nolan and his son, Kings right wing Jordan Nolan. Each team won once.
Enroth made a shoulder save on a deflected shot by Robyn Regehr at 7:55.
The game's first penalty wasn't called until Zemgus Girgensons held Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar with 13:39 gone in the second.
The Kings had their best chance of the period during the man advantage as Enroth had to stop his momentum from carrying Dustin Brown's low shot into the net.
"He's playing great," Ennis said of Enroth. "He's one of the biggest factors why we've been winning this last month. When we break down he's there to make a good save."
Former Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr was called for roughing early in the third, and Buffalo had several chances to beat Quick in tight before Ennis finally scored.
Matt Moulson, Quick's brother-in-law, carried the puck into the corner before finding Ennis alone in front of Quick for the goal 4 minutes into the third.
"It's a good feeling when you've got a one-on-one with a goalie and you've got the time," Ennis said. "Great pass by Moulson, good entry and I'm glad we put it in."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was upset to see Ennis wide open.
"It's a bad play by Mike Richards," Sutter said. "You can't drop off. It's a set play for us. You can't drop off in the corner unless we have full control."
Drew Stafford also earned an assist.
Enroth then stopped Tyler Toffoli twice within seconds to preserve the shutout.
With Quick pulled, Ennis was tripped by Drew Doughty to give Buffalo a final-minute power play.
Los Angeles fell to 3-5-4 on the road.
"It's still a ways off from how we need to play if we want to get our game going and play the way we can," Kings alternate captain Matt Greene said. "That's it. There's no positives."
Several Sabres admitted their game plan was to take few chances and "play boring."
"You don't want to go into a slugfest with a champion," coach Nolan said. "They're a big team, they're a heavy team. We know we can't battle pound for pound."
NOTES: The Sabres are open to the possibility of having rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov represent Russia at the World Junior Championships this month. ... The Kings didn't play former Sabres defenseman Jamie McBain. ... Buffalo scratched right wing Chris Stewart.