NHL Game Summary - Florida at Buffalo
(Wednesday, March 31st)
Final Score: Buffalo 6, Florida 2
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ryan Miller needed to make only 13 saves and Raffi Torres chipped in three assists, as the Buffalo Sabres crept closer to clinching their first Northeast crown in three years with a 6-2 victory over Florida at HSBC Arena.
There were six different goal-scorers for Buffalo, which is now seven points ahead of idle Ottawa for the division lead. The Senators have just five games remaining.
The Sabres, who have won seven of their last eight games, are also one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Taffe and Michael Frolik each lit the lamp for the Panthers, who have dropped four straight and are all but assured of missing the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
"Pretty ugly. I thought we had a good first period...then the wheels fell off," said Florida head coach Peter DeBoer.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 35 shots in the loss.
Florida struck first when Taffe, summoned from Rochester of the American Hockey League earlier Wednesday to fill in for injured forward Rostislav Olesz (hand), converted a Steve MacIntyre feed less than two minutes into the contest.
Jason Pominville tied the game, banking a rebound off Vokoun at the 9:22 mark of the first period, and Tim Kennedy beat Vokoun over the glove for a 2-1 Sabres lead with 1:51 to play in the opening frame.
Buffalo led 3-1 when Nathan Gerbe jumped on a loose puck in the high slot and fired a wrister behind Vokoun for a power-play tally at 9:31 of the second period.
Adam Mair stashed a rebound to give the Sabres a three-goal cushion with 7:22 left in the middle stanza.
"I thought in the second (period) we took over the game. Our puck movement was great. We did a lot of good things," Pominville said.
Rookie Tyler Ennis and veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder scored 33 seconds apart in the third period to cement the win for Buffalo.
Buffalo forwards Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly both missed the game with lower-body injuries...Torres returned to the lineup after missing six games with a hand injury...Matt Ellis had two assists for the Sabres.
03/31 22:48:52 ET