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
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
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
12/04 10:40:12 ET