Sabres sweep weekend home games to stay in playoff hunt

Brandon Schlager  - Digital Media Intern | Sunday, 04.14.2013 / 8:25 PM

Buffalo 3 - Tampa Bay 1
Sunday, April 14, 2013
First Niagara Center

The race for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot has turned into anyone’s best guess, and on Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres at least momentarily re-entered the discussion.

The Sabres came into the day six points behind the New York Rangers for the final slot. They closed the gap to four points Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at First Niagara Center, hinging their postseason hopes on a pivotal stretch of games this week. Buffalo is 5-2 over its last seven games.

Eight different Sabres recorded a point and Jhonas Enroth, starting in back-to-back games after Saturday’s 29-save shutout performance, remained hot in net, turning away 32 of 33 Tampa Bay shots. Enroth’s pair of wins, his first in consecutive team games since 2011, have helped the Sabres climb back into the playoff picture with five games to go.

Tyler Ennis snapped his 12-game goalless streak with a tally early in the first period and Jochen Hecht and Kevin Porter followed with scores in the second.

Buffalo was outshot, 33-22, for the third straight game. Enroth, who is 4-0-1 with a 1.55 goals against average and a .951 save percentage over his last seven appearances, earned first-star recognition for the second straight game.

1st Period
The Sabres opened the game’s scoring at the 15:51 mark on the power play when Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis each snapped prolonged scoring droughts. Vanek threw a backhanded, no-look pass to the front of the net where Ennis buried his first goal since March 21 to give the Sabres a quick 1-0 lead. The assist was Vanek’s first point since returning from an injury four games ago.

2nd Period
Buffalo pushed its lead to 2-0 eight minutes into the period when Jochen Hecht skated down the right side and released a wrister from the the top of the circle, sending the puck caroming off the blocker of Mathieu Garon and into the net. Kevin Porter then connected on a pass from Brian Flynn at 7:23, tipping in his sixth goal to give the Sabres a 3-0 edge. Benoit Pouliot got Tampa on the board seconds later, ending Enroth’s shutout streak at 96:11, which elapsed his past three appearances.

3rd Period
There was no scoring in the third period. Tampa Bay outshot the Sabres 11-4 in the period and 33-22 overall.

Thomas Vanek
leads all Sabres with 36 points (23+12) in 31 games against Tampa Bay. ... Brian Flynn finished plus-1 in the win. He has had a positive or even plus/minus rating in 20 of his 21 games this season. The Sabres are 10-7-4 in those games. ... With his goal, Kevin Porter has four goals and seven points in his last seven games and is on a career-best four-game point (1+3) streak ... Three Sabres topped their career highs in ice time tonight: Kevin Porter(18:56), Bryan Flynn (18:32) and Mark Pysyk (18:30). John Scott (10:43) saw his highest TOI of the season. ... This was Buffalo’s ninth and final afternoon game this season, finishing 4-4-1 ... Buffalo leads the all-time series between Tampa Bay with a 49-23-5 overall record and 23-13-2 at home.

Luke Adam
was the only healthy scratch for the second straight game.

Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 26:00
Shots: Chad Ruhwedel/Steve Ott/John Scott, 3
Blocked Shots: Brian Flynn, 3
Hits: Seven tied with 2
Faceoff Wins: Marcus Foligno, 9 (9-2)
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 15 (6-9)

Scoring first: 14-4-4
Leading after the first period: 6-2-2
Leading after the second period: 8-0-4
Outshot by opponent: 14-13-2

Power Play
Tonight: 1/3
Overall: 18/149, 12.1%
Home: 10/74, 13.5%

Penalty Kill
Tonight: 1/1
Overall: 129/165, 78.1%
Home: 55/71, 77.5%

* Wednesday at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
* Friday vs NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
* Saturday at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
04:09BUF PPG - Tyler Ennis (10) ASST: Thomas Vanek (18), Christian Ehrhoff (14) 1 - 0 BUF
2nd Period
08:00BUF Jochen Hecht (4) ASST: Nathan Gerbe (5) 2 - 0 BUF
12:37BUF Kevin Porter (4) ASST: Brian Flynn (5), Steve Ott (15) 3 - 0 BUF
13:30TBL Benoit Pouliot (8) ASST: Eric Brewer (8), Vincent Lecavalier (19) 3 - 1 BUF
3rd Period
Three Stars of the Game
Jhonas Enroth
Jhonas Enroth
SA: 33TOI: 59:57
GA: 1EV: 29-30
PIM: 0PP: 1-1
SV%: .970SH: 2-2
Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:32
Kevin Porter
Kevin Porter
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:56
Penalty Summary
1st Period
03:56TBL Steven Stamkos  Slashing against  Brian Flynn
13:44TBL B.J. Crombeen  Hooking against  Marcus Foligno
2nd Period
3rd Period
06:23BUF Christian Ehrhoff  Delaying the game
08:55TBL Ryan Malone  Hooking against  Adam Pardy
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/11/3
Faceoff Wins2830
Blocked Shots108
Penalty Minutes62
2E. BrewerD0112022:09
3K. AulieD00-11012:35
4V. LecavalierC0113016:42
6S. SaloD00-11019:07
11T. PyattC000105:39
12R. MaloneL0014213:52
16T. PurcellL0004016:20
17A. KillornC0003020:26
19B. CrombeenR000129:41
25M. CarleD0015025:41
26M. St. LouisR00-20023:36
34J. WymanR00-10013:31
42D. TyrellC000109:50
67B. PouliotL1012011:39
71R. PanikL00-22014:38
75R. GudasD00-10017:40
77V. HedmanD00-12021:10
91S. StamkosC00-11223:31
32M. Garon1922.86458:00
5C. RuhwedelD0003011:15
6M. WeberD00-10020:54
9S. OttC0113019:29
10C. EhrhoffD0120226:00
12K. PorterC1011018:56
19C. HodgsonC0000015:23
21D. StaffordR0002015:22
26T. VanekL0101015:53
27A. PardyD0000016:57
32J. ScottL0003010:43
36P. KaletaR0001013:29
42N. GerbeC0101012:08
44A. SekeraD0020024:03
53M. PysykD00-11018:30
55J. HechtC1002012:58
63T. EnnisC1002014:59
65B. FlynnC0112018:32
82M. FolignoL0000012:32
1J. Enroth3233.97059:57