If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that Jhonas Enroth is not ready for the NHL, he dispelled it tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. It’s not Montreal Forum, but the ghosts of Canadien’s past have to have transferred to the new building along with the rows and rows of banners that occupy the rafters of the Bell Centre.
Jhonas Enroth allowed the storied Montreal Canadiens, who are attempting to climb into the top spot in the Northeast on the backs of goaltender Carey Price to jump out in front with a 2-0 lead before the Buffalo Sabres started playing in front of him. Just when it seemed like the Sabres were going to continue to play the type of hockey that lost them the game against the Islanders Sunday afternoon – Drew “Golden Stick” Stafford scored his 24th goal of the season that put the Sabres on the quick road to recovery. Unable to make it four wins in a row for the first time this year after getting to three wins for the first time, the Buffalo Sabres are once again in the winning column, and continue to creep closer to the bottom spot in the Eastern Conference.
In fact, a quick look at the slate on the table for tomorrow, and if the stars align, the Buffalo Sabres could give me a great birthday present, and enter the eight and final playoffs spot on my birthday. A win against the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs and a New Jersey win over Carolina in regulation would tie the Sabres in points with the Hurricanes, with the Sabres having played two fewer games. No longer are your games in hand needed to play catchup, but rather could put distance between them and the non-playoff teams.
With the performance that Enroth put on tonight, the Buffalo Sabres and new owner Terry Pegula may have one less decision to make this off season, and that is what to do at the position of backup goaltender. There is absolutely no way in Toronto hell that they can even be thinking about resigning Patrick Lalime this off season. Instead of trying to go out and land a free agent, they need to use what assets they have within the organization, and use Jhonas Enroth. He can’t be seasoned anymore by playing in the NHL, so let the kid learn more by trail and error in the NHL. Better to learn it behind the likes of Ryan Miller, than to be rushed into full time action when heaven forbid Ryan Miller sustains a long term injury and we can’t rely on Pat Lalime or some other washed up NHLer that we find to work for peanuts to open and close the door on the players bench.
Its one of those seasons, you don’t want to get too down on them after a loss, you don’t want to get too high on them after a win – you would just like to see a consistent 60 minute hockey game.