Updated at: 04/13/2013 7:35 PM
By JOHN WAWROW
(AP) BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jhonas Enroth stopped 29 shots to help the Buffalo Sabres remain on the fringe of the playoff race with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Christian Ehrhoff scored the lone goal, 17 seconds into the third period, when his fortunate carom off the end boards sneaked in behind Steve Mason. Buffalo (17-19-6) snapped a two-game skid and climbed into a tie with New Jersey for 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Enroth stopped 11 shots in the final period, including getting a piece of Wayne Simmonds’ shot from the slot with 50 seconds remaining. For Enroth, it was his third career shutout and first since, Nov. 18, 2011.
The Flyers (17-21-3) lost their fourth straight, squandering an opportunity to jump a point ahead of the Sabres. They’ve lost four straight in regulation for the first time since Feb. 26-March 6, 2011.
And it’s a stretch during which they’ve failed to score two or more goals in regulation. That matches Philadelphia’s worst tretch since a four-game span from Jan. 24-30, 2003, according to STATS LLC.
The Flyers’ power play failed to convert on three chances and is 0 for 16 in six games.
Not even the return of center Danny Briere could provide the Flyers a boost. Briere, a former Sabres captain, played his first game after missing 10 because of a concussion.
Briere nearly scored with a second left when his shot from the left circle hit off the crossbar.
In a game between two struggling teams, leave it to the Sabres to open the scoring 17 seconds into the third period on a shot that wasn’t even directed on goal.
Steve Ott won the face off to left of the Flyers net, and fed it back to Ehrhoff at the point, where his shot sailed five feet wide of the net. The puck caromed off the end boards and went in off the back of Steve Mason’s skate after the goalie failed to hug the left post.
Enroth got the start in place of Ryan Miller because the Sabres host Tampa Bay on Sunday in closing a stretch of playing three games in four days.
Enroth’s best stop came with just over 11 minutes left, when he kicked out left pad to stop Simon Gagne driving to the net after being set up alone in front. Enroth was briefly shaken up on the play, after teammate Mark Pysyk rolled over top the goalie while chasing Gagne from behind.
Enroth was sharp in the opening minute of the second period when he got his glove up to get a piece of Simon Gagne’s shot from the left circle after being set up by Claude Giroux on a 2-on-1 break.
Mason, making his third appearance for Philadelphia since being acquired in a trade with Columbus this month, had to be on top of his game at the other end, too.
He got his shoulder up to stop Cody Hodgson’s rising shot on a 2-on-1 rush midway through the second period. Mason’s best stop came a few minutes later when he got his glove up to stop Thomas Vanek’s hard shot from the right circle, and recovered in time to stop Vanek’s attempt to cash in the rebound.
The Sabres’ lineup against the Flyers was a shell of the one that opened the season with a 5-2 win over Philadelphia on Jan. 20. As a result of trades, injuries and demotions, the Sabres on Saturday featured only 11 of 18 skaters who played in the opener.
The latest newcomer was undrafted rookie free-agent defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, who was signed to a two-year contract earlier in the day. Ruwhedel had just completed his three-year college career after UMass Lowell was eliminated by Yale in the Frozen Four semifinals Thursday.
NOTES: Ruhwedel had 63 points (15 goals) in 110 career games at UMass Lowell. He replaced Tyler Myers in the lineup, after the defenseman was ruled out for the remainder of the season after he broke a bone in his leg blocking a shot in a 5-1 loss to Montreal on Thursday. ... Flyers C Maxim Talbot and D Bruno Gervais were both healthy scratches. Gervais missed only his fourth game of the season. ... Before the game, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for a $172 million hockey/entertainment complex Sabres owner Terry Pegula is building across the street from the team’s home.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)