Wednesday, November 24. That’s the last time Ryan Miller didn’t start a game for the Sabres before Tuesday, a span of 31 games. Jhonas Enroth got the start that night in November, and he also got the start Tuesday. He was a hard-luck loser, stopping 28 of 29 shots in a 1-0 loss back then, but played just as brilliantly in a 3-2 shootout win against the Canadiens on Tuesday. Buffalo remained undefeated in the shootout this season at a perfect 5-0. The Sabres were down 2-0 in the game and 2-0 in the shootout before finally winning in the tenth round behind Enroth’s 32 saves. Miller will probably start on Wednesday, but don’t look for him to start another 31 games in a row.
Perhaps lost in all of this is Patrick Lalime. He started just four games for the Sabres this season, going 0-5 with a 2.96 GAA and an .890 SV%. He should have received the start on Tuesday, so the Sabres calling up and starting Enroth has to be a slap in the face.
The only team losing more often than the Avs right now is the Cleveland Cavaliers. But even the Cavs finally broke a 26-game losing streak, unlike the Avs, who haven’t won in eight straight. Craig Anderson left the team last week for “personal reasons” and was back Monday, but it didn’t matter. Peter Budaj has started and lost the last three, giving up 11 goals in seven periods of work. Colorado would’ve had a better shot with Peter Forsberg in net on Monday, suffering a 9-1 loss at home to the Flames. Budaj gave up five goals on 18 shots, and Anderson came in to replace him and gave up 4 goals on 15 shots. It’s not safe to play a goalie from this team right now.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Steve Mason has been starting majority of the Blue Jackets games recently (starting 11 of previous 13). But he missed Friday’s 3-1 win over the Avalanche with bronchitis. He’s also been dealing with a sore groin, which could keep him out of Wednesday’s game against the Kings. This is unfortunate news for Mason owners, as he’s been playing his best hockey of the season. Mason has gone 4-1 over his past five starts, allowing only eight goals. He has bumped his save percentage up to a semi-respectable .903 and has knocked the goals-against average down to 3.05. Mathieu Garon would start if needed, but he is just 2-10 in his past 12 games, having faded mightily since his hot start to the season. Columbus has yet to call up a backup goalie, so Mason as of now will at least dress for the game.
New York Islanders
Ah, my favorite team to write about. Just kidding, of course. I like writing about them almost as much as I like getting a root canal. The Isles have started five different goalies in the past seven games. Of course, Rick DiPietro and Kevin Poulin are now out for the season, so that leaves rookies Mikko Koskinen and Nathan Lawson as well as newly acquired Al Montoya. Koskinen, who was an emergency call up when “the Poulin wall” got hurt at practice last week, was returned to Bridgeport. This leaves the Isles with Lawson as the primary starter, and Montoya as his backup. Lawson played well in the Islanders’ 4-3 shootout win over the Senators on Tuesday, making 28 of 31 saves while earning his first career NHL win. He’s the third Isles goalie to earn his first NHL win this season, which has to be an NHL record.