BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Jhonas Enroth's inspired play has helped stabilize the Buffalo Sabres.
Buffalo's backup made 36 saves, and Derek Roy had a goal and two assists in the Sabres' 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night.
Enroth, still considered a rookie despite playing in 14 games last season, improved to 5-0 this season and 14-3-2 in his career. After taking over for ineffective starter Ryan Miller in the first period of a loss to Philadelphia earlier this month, Enroth has helped the Sabres get back on track.
Since that 3-2 loss to the Flyers - Buffalo's fourth defeat in five games - the Sabres have won four straight, with Enroth in goal for three of the wins.
``He's done a good job coming in,' said Roy, who has four goals and eight points during the winning streak. ``He's stepped up in the games, made big saves for us, and has gotten some big wins for us.'
Enroth was solid throughout, with his best save coming midway through the second period when he robbed Zack Smith's tap-in attempt on a 2-on-1 break while the Senators were short-handed. Otherwise, he was able to effectively steer away Ottawa's shots.
``They had a lot of shots, but a lot of them came from pretty far out,' Enroth said. ``It was pretty easy. There weren't too many really good chances.'
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean agreed.
``We played catch with him,' MacLean said. ``He had way less trouble around his net than our goalie had.'
Enroth is 12-0-1 in 13 decisions since his last loss in regulation, which came last Nov. 24 in a 1-0 defeat at Pittsburgh.
``I have to stay humble,' he said. ``Hockey is a sport where it can turn around quick. I go out there and try to play every game like it would be my last game.'
Matt Ellis, Jordan Leopold, Luke Adam, and Ville Leino also scored for the Sabres (10-5). It was Buffalo's eighth win in nine meetings with Ottawa.
``We moved the puck around well, skated, and worked for each other,' Roy said. ``When we get the chances, we have to finish them like we did.'
Drew Stafford added three assists for the Sabres.
Sergei Gonchar scored for slumping Ottawa (7-9-1), which dropped to 0-4-1 since a six-game winning streak.
``We have to shore up some things,' Senators forward Nick Foligno said. ``It wasn't a step back, but we have to re-evaluate how we need to play.'
Craig Anderson let in two goals on six shots over the first 2 1/2 minutes before being pulled. Alex Auld finished with 12 saves in relief for the Senators.
``I left some garbage out front and they tapped it home,' Anderson said. ``That's how my night went.'
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing five games because of a concussion sustained when he was hit in the head by New York Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski.
Up by two goals after two periods, the Sabres pushed their lead to 4-1 when Adam shoveled home Thomas Vanek's nifty pass from in tight 4 minutes into the third.
Leino made it 5-1 just 57 seconds later with his second goal of the season and first since the opener.
The Sabres struck first with a pair of goals 16 seconds apart early in the first to chase Anderson. Roy netted his fifth off a rebound before Ellis chipped the puck in from the slot with a backhand at 2:25.
Ottawa closed the gap to 2-1 on Gonchar's power-play goal 4:38 into the first. From the right circle he one-timed Erik Karlsson's cross-ice pass past Enroth.
Buffalo regained its two-goal edge on Leopold's goal with 5:20 to go in the opening period.
NOTES: The Senators began a six-game road trip. ... Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta served the fourth and final game of his NHL suspension for head-butting Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek on Nov. 2. ... Ottawa RW Chris Neil missed the game because of a high ankle sprain sustained in Wednesday's loss to the New York Rangers. ... Roy extended his point streak to four games. ... The Sabres have scored three goals in the first period in consecutive games, the first time they have done that since March 2008.
The Associated Press News Service
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