Tyler Ennis

Ennis, Myers propel Buffalo past Montreal in OT win

Tyler Ennis’ season hasn’t gone as planned, but he was played a pivotal role in Buffalo’s 3-2 overtime victory versus Montreal on Monday.

After Carey Price stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 4-1 victory over Vancouver on Saturday, Montreal decided to rest him against the Buffalo Sabres. Peter Budaj held his own in relief of Price against a Sabres team that’s desperately fighting to stay in the playoff race. Buffalo outshot Montreal 14-6 in the first period, but the score was 1-0 in favor of the Canadiens after 20 minutes.

Ennis finally found the back of the net at 11:08 of the second period and then again early in the third. He has just 18 points in his injury-shortened sophomore season, but he’s bounced back lately with 11 points in his last 14 games. Drew Stafford assisted on both goals to end his four-game pointless slump.

It looked like the story would end there, but David Desharnais, who was questionable to even play Monday night due to a lower body injury, netted the game-tying goal with just five seconds remaining in regulation time. You can check out his heroics below.

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Desharnais’ efforts allowed Montreal to walk away with a point, but Buffalo still won the contest on the strength of Tyler Myers’ overtime goal. Ryan Miller made 26 saves to reach the 25-win mark for the seventh straight season.

Each team had two power-play opportunities, but neither managed to capitalize. Buffalo has been particularly effective when it comes to killing penalties lately. They haven’t allowed a power-play goal since Feb. 24.

For Buffalo, this win keeps hope alive as they try to catch up to the surging Washington Capitals, who currently hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres are now just two points behind the Capitals, but Buffalo has also played in one extra contest. Meanwhile, the Canadiens are simply playing for personal and professional pride. They are stuck in last place in the Eastern Conference and no longer have any realistic hope of playing beyond April 7.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.