The Florida Panthers will try to get back to their winning ways tonight as they head to New York to play the Buffalo Sabres.
The Panthers were riding a mini 2-game winning streak before they had it snapped Thursday in a heart breaking loss to the Ottawa Senators which saw the Senators scoring with 3 seconds left in regulation for a 4-3 victory. Versteeg scored with less than a minute to tie the game, continuing his hot streak with the Panthers, meanwhile rookie goaltender Jacob Markstrom had 28 saves in a losing cause.
“When you end up on the wrong side of those ones, it has a lot of sting,” coach Kevin Dineen told the Miami Herald. “There are some lessons to be learned. It was sloppy play by us. I don’t think that’s the defining moment for our season. But it’s a tough loss.
Much of the great play by the Panthers lately can be credited to rookie phenom goaltender Markstrom who has stopped 92 of the last 96 shots he faced so far this season. He has played great of late, making some crucial saves allowing the Panthers to get themselves into the game early and set the tone.
The Sabres on the other hand are coming off a 4-2 win Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jason Pominville scored two goals in the victory while Jonas Enroth made 32 saves for the victory.
Frustration continues for Sabres’ fans hoping that Jochen Hecht will soon return to the lineup as he has suffered another setback in his attempt to make it back in the lineup. He has been out with a concussion since being hit on the second day of training camp.
Tonight’s game will be the second meeting between the clubs in the last month. The Sabres won the first game of the 4-game series back on October 20th in Florida 3-0, Ryan Miller stopped all 22 shots for the shutout.
Last season the two clubs split the season series 2-2, with Florida winning the first two games, while Buffalo winning the two latter contests.
Buffalo Sabres: (6-3-0, 4th Eastern Conference, 2nd NorthEast Division) (2-2-0 Home)
Florida Panthers: (5-4-0, 7th Eastern Conference, 3rd SouthEast Division) (3-3-0 Road)
Powerplay: BUF (21.4% 7th NHL) – FLA (24.3% 5th NHL)
Penalty Kill: BUF (93.6% 2nd NHL) – FLA (76.9% tied23rd NHL)
GF/GA: BUF (27GF, tied 7th NHL / 19GA, tied 4th NHL) – FLA (22GF, tied 19th NHL / 23GA, tied 19th NHL)
Buffalo Sabres: Jochen Hecht (Concussion), Tyler Ennis (Sprained Ankle)
Florida Panthers: Scott Clemmesen (Knee), Sean Bergenheim (Lower Body), Mikael Samuelsson (Groin), Jose Theodore (Lower Body)