Pearson scores twice, Enroth solid and Kings beat Sabres 2-0
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jhonas Enroth has big pads to fill when he skates into what's usually Jonathan Quick's crease. The Los Angeles Kings have been outstanding behind Quick of late, and little changed Saturday night in front of Quick's backup.
Enroth made 23 saves, Tanner Pearson scored twice and the Kings overcame two disallowed goals to beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0.
The Kings got their fourth straight victory and increased their Pacific Division lead to four points over Anaheim. Los Angeles faces the Ducks on Sunday.
Enroth's seventh NHL shutout came after a five-game stretch in which Quick allowed just seven goals and won his last three games by identical 2-1 scores.
Enroth made his 11th start of the season and first since a 1-0 loss at New Jersey on Feb. 14. He played his first 118 NHL games with the Sabres before he was traded to Dallas in February 2015. In his only other career start against them, he made 30 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss at Buffalo on Dec. 12.
The Kings welcomed back Rob Scuderi, and the defenseman had an assist on Pearson's first goal. Scuderi was reacquired on Friday in a trade that sent Christian Ehrhoff to Chicago, and he played his first game for the Kings since June 8, 2013 - when the Blackhawks knocked Los Angeles out of the playoffs in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Scuderi is best remembered by Kings fans for getting slammed face-first into the glass from behind by New Jersey's Steve Bernier in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup final, leading to a pivotal 5-minute power play in the first period that resulted in three goals during a 3:58 span and broke open a scoreless game. The Kings won 6-1 that night at Staples Center to clinch their first NHL championship.
''He slid right in tonight,'' coach Darryl Sutter said. ''I said the same thing yesterday, I said the same thing this morning, and I said the same thing after the game. He can play on our team.''
Twelve of Scuderi's teammates from the Kings' 2012 Stanley Cup run are still with the team. The organization welcomed him back with a video tribute midway through the first period, which included the hit he took from Bernier and the bloody aftermath. The sellout crowd gave him a standing ovation, and he responded by patting his chest.
''I'm not an overly emotional guy and I don't show a whole lot of emotion, but it was pretty special,'' Scuderi said. ''It's a privilege to play in this league, but it makes it a lot sweeter to come back to the Kings. I know exactly what's expected of me, and it suits my style.''
Robin Lehner made 33 saves for the Sabres, and Buffalo was shut out for the sixth time - including a 1-0 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday.
''There's no question that we're not going to win with zero on the board. That's for sure,'' coach Dan Bylsma said. ''I don't think we took full advantage of our opportunities tonight. We had three power plays, and you have to cash in on one of those, at least.''
Late in the first, Anze Kopitar redirected Milan Lucic's one-timer over Lehner's glove with a high stick. The goal was waved off immediately.
In the second, defenseman Alec Martinez took a one-timer that struck Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons on the leg and caromed to Pearson, who beat Lehner to the glove side. The assist was Martinez's 100th NHL point.
Pearson got his 10th of the season with 6:02 remaining, converting a rebound of defenseman Jake Muzzin's long wrist shot to cap his first multigoal game of the season. The Kings are 9-0-0 when Pearson scores.
Los Angeles had another goal called back at 15:12 of the second. Brown tripped Johan Larsson in front of the net just before backhanding the puck past Lehner. Instead of a goal, he got a 2-minute penalty.
''It was an unfortunate call on Brownie, but our penalty-kill was strong tonight,'' Pearson said. ''One of the things we pride ourselves on is our special teams, and definitely our PK.''
NOTES: C Ryan O'Reilly, whose overtime goal beat the Kings in the previous meeting, missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury. ... Kings C Tyler Toffoli has a plus-minus figure of plus-26, second-best in the league behind Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov (plus-30).