Ryan Miller's recent problems in net have created an unlikely goaltender controversy in Buffalo. If Miller is denied a start for a third straight game tonight against visiting Winnipeg, it could get even worse.
Miller hasn't played since getting pulled six minutes into the first period of loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 2. Jhonas Enroth has started both of Buffalo's games since then, marking the first time since the 2006-07 season that a healthy Miller was benched in consecutive games.
The fact that going just two games without a start can set off a controversy is a testament to how entrenched Miller, a former Vezina Trophy winner, has been as Buffalo's starting netminder. Even Enroth was surprised to get a second straight start on Saturday, considering how much of a workhorse Miller has become for the Sabres in recent years.
"I was a little bit surprised," said Enroth. "I was expecting Ryan to start tonight. But I got the start, and I'm happy for every start I get."
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has not yet revealed whether Miller or Enroth will start in net tonight. With Winnipeg finishing a seven-game road trip tonight, perhaps Ruff will try to get Miller his confidence back by starting him against a tired team.
That being said, Enroth is clearly the hot hand and he did not disappoint in either of his recent starts. The 23-year-old Swede stopped 29-of-30 shots in a 2-1 home win over Calgary on Friday and earned another victory the following night in Ottawa.
Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes also scored during the shootout, while Roy and Jordan Leopold netted goals in regulation for the Sabres, winners of two in a row for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Oct. 15-20.
The Sabres are 3-4-0 as the host this year, which is a far cry from their superb 5-1-0 mark on the road.
The Jets are 3-2-1 so far on their longest road trip of the season, but Winnipeg has lost the last two tests on the swing. The former Atlanta Thrashers dropped a 3-2 overtime decision Saturday in New Jersey and were blanked by the New York Rangers on Sunday. Martin Biron made 23 saves to record a shutout in New York's 3-0 win.
Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves for the Jets, who haven't lost three in a row since they opened the season with a three-game skid.
Winnipeg is hoping Nik Antropov can return tonight after missing the last two games with a hand injury. Antropov, who leads the Jets with 11 points, was a game-time decision for each of the last two games and is questionable for tonight.
Jets defenseman Randy Jones is also questionable for tonight after missing the last two games with a right ankle injury.
The Sabres beat the Thrashers three out of four times last season and Buffalo has taken five of the last seven meetings in this series. The Jets' franchise has also dropped three straight and six out of nine in Buffalo.