BUFFALO – A sinus infection will relegate franchise goalie Ryan Miller to backup duty tonight behind Jhonas Enroth against the New York Rangers.
Miller occasionally skips morning skates, so when he wasn’t on the ice today inside the First Niagara Center, it hardly seemed like a big deal.
But interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said following the skate Enroth would start for the second time in three games. The 24-year-old only received three nods in the first 26 games.
“We’d certainly like him to build off of that last game because … I know that was one of the best games I’ve seen him play since I’ve been in the organization,” Rolston said about Enroth’s 27-save performance in a 3-2 shootout loss in New Jersey, his first start since Feb. 5.
Enroth dazzled Thursday before cramps – something he joked were related to drinking coffee – forced him out following the tying goal with 1:06 left in regulation.
“Yeah, we sealed the coffee lids,” Rolston joked.
Enroth hasn’t won a game in his last 16 appearances (0-10-2), a stretch dating back to Nov. 26, 2011. The Swede hasn’t even started a home game since Jan. 7, 2012.
He had the first of his two NHL shutouts here against the Rangers on March 30, 2011.
In other lineup news, defenseman Jordan Leopold will return from a 10-game absence (injury, healthy scratches). Rookie T.J. Brennan will likely sit.
Tyler Ennis, whose face was crunched into the boards Sunday, will sit tonight but Rolston’s “very hopeful” the center will return Saturday. Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko will replace Ennis.
Meanwhile, winger Ville Leino (hip) won’t make his season debut tonight.
“I guess the concern or challenge is to make sure Ville is ready more than anything,” Rolston said. “So what this does is allows us some more time. I mean, he’s been out for six, seven weeks here. So we have to make sure that when he does get back in the lineup he stays in the lineup.”