BUFFALO, N.Y. – Marcus Foligno and Jhonas Enroth had breakout games for the Buffalo Sabres, who cooled off the surging New York Rangers.
Foligno snapped a 20-game scoring drought with two goals, Enroth made 18 of his 32 saves in the third period to earn his first NHL win in more than a year, and the Sabres beat the Rangers 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Enroth, who started because Ryan Miller was sidelined because of a sinus infection, earned his first victory since a 5-1 win over Washington on Nov. 26, 2011. He was 0-10-3 in 16 appearances since then.
The victory was even sweeter because it came against Swedish countryman Henrik Lundqvist, who was in the Rangers net.
“That’s my big idol,” Enroth said with a smile. “It’s something special to me to beat him. It’s something I’ll remember forever.”
More importantly, it helped the Sabres end a four-game losing streak (0-2-2).
“You could see early on that he was tracking things well,” Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. “I’m real happy for him. To see him come back and have a big smile is really gratifying.”
Enroth was especially sharp in the third period, when he made four of his saves during the Rangers’ only power play.
“I felt very confident and in control of every shot,” Enroth said. “I didn’t give up bad rebounds. It was pretty much a perfect game.”
Foligno, who hadn’t scored since the fifth game of the season at Washington, made it 1-1 at 5:35 of the second period. He gave the Sabres a 3-1 lead with 8:12 left in the game.
“It’s been tough,” said Foligno, who recorded his third NHL multigoal game. “You want to contribute to the team and play well. I want to be in front and do what I did tonight.”
Thomas Vanek also scored for Buffalo (10-14-3).
Derek Stepan scored a short-handed goal for the Rangers (13-10-2), who lost for just the second time in seven games. Lundqvist made 19 saves.
New York’s Rick Nash had a 10-game point streak snapped.
“I thought we stunk,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “I couldn’t be more disgusted or disappointed with how our top guys played. That team was ripe to be beat and we simply didn’t play the way we were supposed to play.”
Tortorella tersely ended his 90-second press conference, criticizing his team for playing poorly at a critical point of the season.
Stepan gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 4:17 into the second period. Ryan Callahan got to a rebound in the Buffalo zone and skated toward the side of the net before delivering the puck to Stepan.
Foligno tied it 78 seconds later, stuffing in a rebound of Christian Ehrhoff’s shot that bounced off the back boards.
Vanek put the Sabres in front after taking a long pass from Jason Pominville, that banked off the side boards in the neutral zone, and getting behind Rangers defenceman Dan Girardi.
Foligno banged in his second of the night after Lundqvist stopped Andrej Sekera’s slap shot. Sekera had two assists for his first multipoint game since Feb. 8, 2012, against Boston.
Lundqvist made a pair of acrobatic saves on Vanek with about 8 minutes left in the first period. On the second shot, Lundqvist was on his belly when he kicked up his leg to turn away a backhander.
Enroth made his second start in three games. He allowed two goals in a 3-2 shootout loss at New Jersey on Thursday, but was unable to finish the game after his right leg cramped in the final minutes of the third period.
Buffalo, which entered the game with the worst power play in the NHL, went 0-for-5, allowed a short-handed goal, and incurred two icings during the advantages.
NOTES: Buffalo played without C Tyler Ennis, who sustained a cut on his forehead when he was checked from behind on Sunday at Philadelphia. … Marc Staal sat out his fourth game since being struck in the eye by a puck on March 5. He is out indefinitely. … Buffalo has allowed a league-high five short-handed goals. … The Sabres have played on March 12 in each of the last six seasons.