NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 23rd
(All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (15-17-0) at Buffalo Sabres (14-16-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to bounce back from a rough
loss when they conclude a three-game road trip tonight with a visit to HSBC
Arena to face the Buffalo Sabres.
The Panthers had won two straight and were coming off Monday's 5-0 victory in
Philadelphia, but Florida stumbled in the second game of the road trip,
getting pounded, 5-2, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby scored one
of three first-period goals to help leads the Pens to victory.
Stephen Weiss and Bryan McCabe tallied for the Panthers, while starter Tomas
Vokoun was pulled before the 11-minute mark after allowing three goals on 14
shots. Scott Clemmensen finished the game with 18 saves.
"It was over in the first 10 minutes," lamented Panthers head coach Peter
DeBoer. "There's a reason they're sitting where they are in the standings. All
the things we did in Philadelphia the other night, we didn't bring to the rink
The loss dropped Florida to 8-11-0 as the guest this season.
The Panthers beat Buffalo just last week in Florida, handing the Sabres a 6-2
setback in the first of four meetings between the clubs last year. Buffalo has
still taken six of eight overall in the series and the Panthers have lost four
of five and seven out of nine in western New York.
However, the Sabres are coming off a victory, as they were able to end a two-
game slide with Tuesday's decisive victory over visiting Anaheim. Tyler Ennis
scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 21 saves to lead Buffalo to the 5-2
victory over the Ducks.
Drew Stafford, Nathan Gerbe and Craig Rivet also tallied for the Sabres, who
have won five of their last six at home, but still have a sub-par 8-9-1 record
as the host this year.
"I think we took advantage of a team whose energy level was low," said Buffalo
head coach Lindy Ruff. "(Anaheim) played a heckuva game (Monday) in Boston and
they had to come in here in a tough situation."
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta left Tuesday's game after being boarded by
Anaheim's Jason Blake in the first period and did not return. However, he was
able to practice on Wednesday and is probable for tonight's contest.
However, Sabres centerman Tim Connolly is expected to sit out his second
straight game after suffering a broken nose Saturday in Tampa.
12/23 11:24:15 ET