LBC Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers

USA TODAY Sports

In tonight's matchup, the considerably less than stellar Sabres of Buffalo visit the Panthers of Florida. Will the Cats be able to string together a three-game point streak?

Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres visit the Panthers in Sunrise at the BB&T Center for the first of four contests this season. They'll play in South Florida again on March 7th, and meeting twice in Buffalo in the meantime, on January 9th and 21st. Florida will be playing in the fourth game of a six-game homestand. They've put together a 1-1-1 record thus far, losing at the last second to the Boston Bruins last Thursday, 3-2, defeating the Minnesota Wild, 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday, and dropping a shootout on Tuesday to the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2. After this matchup, the Panthers will remain at home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday and the St. Louis Blues next Friday.

Blackhawks @ Panthers Highlights 10/22/13 (via NHL)


The Sabres just finished a three game homestand with zero points, losing to the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 last Thursday, 4-2 to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, and 5-2 to the Bruins on Wednesday. They'll face the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night before heading back to Buffalo for a tilt against the Dallas Stars on Monday. Aside from a four goal outburst in their only victory (a 4-3 shootout affair against the New York Islanders on October 15th), they've scored 11 goals in 10 games.

A Look Back


The last time the Panthers squared up against the Sabres, it was the 9-19-6 Florida squad hosting the 13-16-4 Buffalo club this past March 28th. For the Panthers, Shawn Matthias scored twice, while Tomas Fleischmann and Jonathan Huberdeau also lit the lamp. Brian Campbell and the since departed Peter Mueller each earned two assists. After 65 minutes, the game stood deadlocked at four. Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Santorelli earned the second point by beating Ryan Miller, who had saved 36-of-40 shots. Jacob Markstrom also made 36 saves for the win.

Jonathan Huberdeau listened to some advice from an injured teammate, and it paid immediate dividends.

The Florida Panthers' rookie sensation snapped a nine-game goal drought with a game-tying power-play tally with 6:09 left in regulation, then scored in the shootout as his team rallied to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on Thursday night at BB&T Center.

Huberdeau's goal was his 13th of the season, tops among NHL rookies.

"I was watching a little bit the stats, but now I decided I'm going to stop watching that," Huberdeau said. "It can go in your head. [Kris] Versteeg told me, just don't watch the stats and it's going to go well. I stopped actually three nights ago and now it went well. So now I've got to stop watching." * Full Recap * Box Score

Sabres/Panthers - Full Shootouts 3/28/13 (via NHLShootouts2013)


Today

GameTime: 7:30 PM ET, FS-FLA, WQAM, LBC GameThread at 7:00

All-Time Record: Florida is 28-37-4-6 all-time against Buffalo, a .440 success rate. Florida has a much more palatable 5-3-3 record against the Sabres over the last three seasons.

Season Series: First of four meetings

Standings:

Florida Panthers: 3-6-1, .350, 7 points, on pace for 57 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 24th in the NHL. Last five: L-L-L-W-O.

Buffalo Sabres: 1-9-1, .136, 3 points, on pace for 22 points. Eighth in the Atlantic Division,16th in the Eastern Conference, 30th in the NHL. Last five: L-W-L-L-L.

Common Thread

Florida RW Brad Boyes played a season and a half with Buffalo, totaling 13 goals and 24 assists in 86 games for a plus-4 rating and 12 PIM.

Panthers D Brian Campbell played his first eight seasons with the Sabres. In 391 games, he totaled 32 goals, 144 assists, a minus-7 rating and 113 PIM.


Panthers Milestones

Games


D Mike Weaver will play in Panthers game number 202, moving him into a tie for 40th with Bret Hedican. Shawn Matthias will move into sole possession of 26th, passing Niklas Hagman with his 264th game played.

Goals

Marcel Goc will move into the all-time top 50 with his next goal, number 24, tying Dave Gagner. Tomas Kopecky will pass Mike Van Ryn into 48th with his 26th goal. Kris Versteeg tied Mike Hough and Gary Roberts in 45th with a goal last game, his 27th. Tomas Fleischmann currently has 41 goals, and will tie Gord Murphy in 27th all-time with his next.

Assists

Matthias has 44 assists, tied with Jody Hull, Chris Gratton, and Ivan Novoseltsev in 46th. Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov each have 64 assists, If either of them get their 65th, they will tie captain Ed Jovanovski in 29th. Brian Campbell currently has 73 assists, in 21st place, and will move into the top 20 all-time with one more, tying Johan Garpenlov.

Birthdays

Former Panther C Rob Globke (46 games, one goal, one assist), turned 31 yesterday. Calgary G Miikka Kiprusoff turns 36 tomorrow.

Probable Starting Lineups

Florida Panthers

Forwards
Defensemen
Goaltenders

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards
Defensemen
Goaltenders

Panthers Leaders

Goals

Brad Boyes - 4, Marcel Goc, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau -3

Assists

Tomas Fleischmann - 7, Brian Campbell - 5, Aleksander Barkov - 4

Points

Tomas Fleischmann - 9, Aleksander Barkov - 7, Brad Boyes - 6

Faceoffs

Nick Bjugstad - 53.8% (21-for-39), Marcel Goc - 50.0% (92-for-181), Jesse Winchester - 48.5% (16-for-33)

Shots on Goal

Tomas Fleischmann - 32, Kris Versteeg - 26, Brad Boyes - 22

Penalty Minutes

Erik Gudbranson - 30, Dmitry Kulikov - 27, Jesse Winchester - 16

Hits

Mike Weaver - 29, Erik Gudbranson - 24, Dmitry Kulikov - 16

Blocked Shots

Mike Weaver - 28, Erik Gudbranson - 22, Tom Gilbert - 17

For a Buffalo scented whiff of the festivities, check out Die By The Blade. The LBC GameThread goes live at 7 PM.

In This Article

Events
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