NHL Game Summary - Florida at Buffalo
(Saturday, February 11th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Florida 3
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek scored twice and Ryan Miller made 29 saves to lead the Buffalo Sabres over the Florida Panthers, 5-3, at HSBC Arena.
J.P. Dumont and Jason Pominville each added a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which has won seven of its last eight games. Jiri Novotny also scored, while Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Roy each added two helpers.
"Our game is simple enough and effective enough that if we initiate some contact and do what we need to do, we�re a god team and it�s frustrating to play against us," said Miller.
Chris Gratton, Jon Sim and Mike Van Ryn all scored for the Panthers, who have lost three of their last five heading into the Olympic break. Sim and Gratton each added an assist in the loss.
Roberto Luongo allowed five goals on 35 shots faced in defeat.
"They pretty much dominated the first (period), but after that we played decent, unfortunately a few mistakes cost us the game," Luongo said.
The Sabres netted a late goal in the first to take a 1-0 lead into the second frame. Ales Kotalik controlled the puck at the point and he sent a pass into the slot. Dumont was there and he was able to redirect the puck out of midair and into the net with 2:31 remaining.
Novotny's first career NHL goal staked Buffalo to a two-goal lead. Roy had the puck behind the net and, with his back to the play, he sent a backhand pass in front to Novotny, who was able to light the lamp 5:02 into the second.
"A great pass from Derek Roy," Novotny said. "I just tried a quick shot. Just happy, you know."
The Panthers got within 2-1 in the second frame after Gratton stuffed home a loose puck from in front with 9:11 remaining. It was Gratton's 11th goal of the season.
Sim's 13th goal of the season tied the contest at 2-2 with 3:54 remaining in the second. Sim took a pass in the left slot and he elevated the puck high and into the back of the net.
However, Buffalo grabbed the lead again before the end of the frame when Vanek found the back of the goal from the right side of the net with just 50 seconds left until the second intermission.
Vanek then netted his second goal of the game early in the third as he carried the puck up the ice along the right side before swinging around the back of the net and putting home a wraparound goal for a 4-2 Buffalo lead.
Pominville's power-play goal with 3:34 left in the third increased the Sabres to a 5-2 edge before Van Ryn's fifth goal of the season for Florida capped the scoring in the contest 15 seconds later.
Buffalo will travel to Carolina Sunday, while the Panthers will not be back in action until they play Tampa Bay on February 28.
Vanek now has 18 goals on the season...Buffalo outshot Florida 35-32...The Sabres finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Panthers were scoreless in four man advantages...Gratton has four goals and six assists in his last four games while Sim has six goals and two assists in his last four...Florida's Joe Nieuwendyk failed to record a point for the first time in eight games.
02/11 23:47:13 ET