Bjugstad helps Panthers edge Sabres
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Bjugstad's second period tally proved to be the game-winner as the Florida Panthers edged the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, on Tuesday at First Niagara Center.
Jesse Winchester, Sean Bergenheim and Ed Jovanovski all scored first period goals for Florida, winners in two straight. Tim Thomas made 32 saves to earn the win.
"It was good to get this win, good for the whole team," said Thomas. "Back-to- back wins are what we need right now and it gives some of the young guys here some confidence in what they're doing."
Drew Stafford potted a pair of goals and assisted on Steve Ott's third period marker in Buffalo's fourth straight defeat. Ryan Miller allowed all four goals on 22 shots.
"We need to really start to go back to the drawing board because there's not much else to say," said Stafford. "We need to clean a few things up and make sure we come out to a good start and if we do, bear down in our own end."
With a 3-2 lead late in the second period, Bjugstad received a feed from Brian Campbell skating down the left wing and ripped a shot that beat Miller off the post for a 4-2 advantage.
The Panthers held their two-goal advantage until 8:36 of the third, when Ott jammed home Stafford's rebound to make it 4-3.
Thomas stood tall after that, denying the Sabres the rest of the way.
Most of the scoring took place in the opening 20 minutes.
Stafford's power-play goal just 2:23 into the action gave the home team an early 1-0 edge, but Florida tied it less than two minutes later when Winchester deflected home a Jovanovski blast from the point.
Stafford lit the lamp for a second time with a wrister over Miller's blocker after Mike Weber leveled a Florida defender to force a turnover in front of the net for a 2-1 lead at 6:16.
The Panthers scored a pair of goals within 52 seconds, however, to take their first lead when Bergenheim and Jovanovski scored during the 18-minute mark.
Tom Gilbert had two assists for Florida ... Thomas improved to 13-13-3 on the season ... Panthers rookie center Aleksander Barkov left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return .. The Panthers look to make it three straight wins when they host Colorado on Friday.
01/22 01:08:27 ET