Buffalo Sabres’ Jhonas Enroth Steals First Regulation Win, Beats Florida Panthers October 25th, 2013 at 11:50 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101
The Buffalo Sabres
had to one-eighth into their 2013-14 schedule to do it, but they finally won a regulation game Friday night.
Jhonas Enroth made 44 saves and rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first career NHL goal to help guide the blue and gold to a 3-1 win in Miami against the Florida Panthers. The win is the second for the Sabres and first that didn't need extra time to get.
The Sabres held to form in the first period, getting outshot 18-4 and yielding a goal to Jesse Winchester at the 13:58 mark. Buffalo has still only scored one goal in the opening 20 minutes this year.
But the Sabres evened things up in terms of intensity and score in the second period. Ristolainen wristed a shot from the point through heavy traffic, taking advantage of a Cody McCormick screen to beat Jacob Markstron 13:32 into the frame.
"It was pretty cool, but at the same time when I scored, it went so fast, so I couldn't think about anything," Ristolainen said of the goal.
Buffalo managed 10 second-period shots to Florida's 16. But in the third period is when the Sabres really took over. They outshot the Panthers 11-7 and controlled play most of the stanza. Steve Ott tied the game at the 12:42 mark when he tipped a Christian Ehrhoff shot into the net for his first goal of the year. Buffalo helpd the lead for good at that point – the most it's held a lead in any game this season – and got its first two-goal advantage of the year in the final minute, when Cody Hodgson scored on an empty net for his fourth tally of the season.
"This is a little bit special feeling, winning the game instead of losing again when you play good," Enroth said.
The Sabres played four teenagers Friday – Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov. They became the first NHL team in 17 years to do that.
Hodgson now has nine points in his last 10 games. McCormick assisted on Hodgson's goal. Buffalo improved to 2-9-1, while Florida fell to 3-7-1.
Ryan Miller is expected to start Saturday when the Sabres complete their Florida road swing in Tampa Bay.
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