Stanley Cup Playoffs NHL News NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule NHL Awards NHL Playoff History
Home    News    Scoreboard    Standings    Schedule    Stats    Teams

NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, December 4th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (11-10-3) at Florida Panthers (10-11-3), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Florida's solid play as of late is creating a goaltending controversy in Sunrise. Craig Anderson, and not Tomas Vokoun, will be in net tonight when the Panthers host the Buffalo Sabres at BankAtlantic Center.

The Panthers have won two straight and earned at least a point in each of their last five games (3-0-2). The last four contests have featured Anderson in net over Vokoun, whom the club acquired prior to the start of last season from Nashville in exchange for a first-round draft pick as well as a pair of second-round picks.

Vokoun started 69 games a year ago for Florida, going 30-29-8 with a 2.68 goals against average. However, he is just 5-10-0 with a 3.01 GAA in 16 outings this year.

In has stepped Anderson. The 27-year-old has started the Panthers' last three games and leads the NHL with a .943 save percentage. He stopped 23 saves in Tuesday's 5-3 victory over Washington that improved him to 5-1-3 this season with 1.99 GAA in 11 games, including nine starts.

Anderson has lost his only career start versus the Sabres, allowing five goals on 31 shots.

Ville Peltonen, Radek Dvorak and Gregory Campbell each had a goal and an assist, while Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan McCabe also scored for the Panthers. Bouwmeester has three goals and three assists over his last four games, while McCabe has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) and a plus-seven rating over his last 13 contests.

Leading goal-scorer David Booth, who has 12 goals this season, missed the game due to a shoulder injury that will also sideline him for tonight's game . He joins the likes of Nathan Horton (lacerated leg/ankle), Richard Zednik (left elbow) and Cory Stillman (post-concussion symptoms) as key players the Panthers are missing.

Florida is 5-3-2 at home this year and will also host Boston on Saturday.

The Sabres also limp into this game. Though Ales Kotalik returned for Monday's 2-0 loss to Nashville after missing seven games due to a hamstring injury, the club was minus Craig Rivet (upper body) and Patrick Kaleta (head/neck) in the loss.

Kaleta and Tim Connolly, who has missed the last eight games due to a broken rib, did not make the trip to Florida, while Rivet is questionable for tonight's game. However, both Derek Roy (back spasms) and Andrew Peters (abdominal strain) were able to practice on Wednesday.

Buffalo failed to get any shots past the Predators' Pekka Rinne on Monday, losing their second straight while getting shutout for the second time in its last five games at home. Ryan Miller made 25 saves for the Sabres. He is 5-3-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a shutout lifetime versus the Panthers.

Buffalo begins a three-game road swing tonight that stays in Florida for a matchup with Tampa Bay on Saturday. The club is 4-4-2 on the road this year but has lost its last four as the visitor, all in regulation.

The Sabres won three of four versus the Panthers last year and have taken five of the last six in the series. Buffalo has also won three straight at the BankAtlantic Center.

12/04 10:40:12 ET

The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments |