The Buffalo Sabres made the right call when they finally gave Ryan Miller a night off, bringing up a shootout specialist from the minors to start in goal over their very idle backup.
Rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth stopped seven of Montreal’s final eight shooters in the tiebreaker and Jochen Hecht scored on Buffalo’s 10th attempt to give the Sabres a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens last night in Montreal.
Buffalo won the shootout, 4-3, as the teams matched the NHL record for most goals in a shootout.
Enroth, who was already the first goalie in league history to get his first two wins in shootouts, made 32 saves during the game, his first with the Sabres since Nov. 24, when he had 28 saves in a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh.
“I think I’m pretty good at shootouts, but I don’t know, first three wins in the shootout is pretty unique,’’ said Enroth, whose wins have all come on the road.
Miller was rested and did not dress, ending his streak of 31 consecutive starts.
“Ryan plays a lot of games,’’ said Jason Pominville, who tied it at 2 for Buffalo with his 13th goal 6:08 into the third. “He wants to play every game. He’s a competitor and he wants to help this team, but at the same time we’re all aware that he needs rest and hopefully it will help him out and at the end of the day just benefit the team.’’
The win gave the Sabres a 13-5-2 record since top scorer Derek Roy was lost for the season because of a knee injury. Buffalo moved within 2 points of Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Flyers 4, Lightning 3 — Kimmo Timonen scored in the seventh round of the shootout as visiting Philadelphia beat Tampa Bay in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia, which won the shootout, 2-1, got goals in regulation from James Van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell, and Darroll Powe — on a shorthanded penalty shot. The conference-leading Flyers are 18-6-3 on the road.
Dominic Moore, Vincent Lecavalier, and Teddy Purcell scored for the Lightning, who took three of four in the season series against Philadelphia.
Sharks 2, Predators 1 — Patrick Marleau beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne on a breakaway 3:43 into overtime to lift visiting San Jose to victory.
Canucks 4, Wild 1 — Manny Malhotra had a goal and an assist and Cory Schneider stopped 27 shots as visiting Vancouver won despite registering just one shot on goal in the third period. Cal Clutterbuck scored for Minnesota, his fourth goal in three games.
Oilers 4, Stars 1 — Captain Shawn Horcoff had a goal and two assists as host Edmonton snapped a three-game skid and handed Dallas its fifth loss in seven games.
Islanders 4, Senators 3 — Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout to lift the visiting Islanders to their fourth straight victory.