The Sabres completed their sweep of their Florida Trip with a 4-3 Shootout victory, thanks to a 2 Goal Performance from Nathan Gerbe and a 40 Saves outing from Ryan Miller. Gerbe who hasn’t scored a goal since March 10th, 2011 netted his first of 2 on the night 6:30 into the game firing a wrist shot past Panthers Goalie Scott Clemmensen. The Sabres who were 0 for their last 14 PP opportunities netted a Power Play marker on their lone chance when Tyler Ennis gave the Sabres a 2-0 lead with 9 minutes left in the 1st. The Panthers like in the first meeting would quickly make the Sabres 2 goal lead disappear when Drew Shore netted a Power Play goal getting a nice bounce off the boards behind the Sabres net with 5:36 left in the period. Marcel Goc would capitalize on a Buffalo mistake behind the net to tie the game at 2 less than 2 minutes later. Gerbe would make sure the Sabres had the lead going into the intermission netting his 2nd of the night on a bad angle shot that beat Clemmensen with 3:14 left in the 1st. Clemmensen would be pulled after the Gerbe goal making only 7 saves on the night, making way for Jose Theodore.
The Sabres outshot the Panthers 11-9 in the 1st Period. The rest of the way the Panthers dominated the shot clock 34-14. The Panthers who dominated the play for most of the 2nd and 3rd Period were rewarded with 1:26 left in the game when Brian Campbell beat Ryan Miller off a face-off win by the Panthers. The game would remain tied through the overtime period and a Shootout would be needed to decide the game. Thomas Vanek who was 2nd on the Sabres list for Shootout Goals list went first for the Sabres. Vanek fired a shot past Jose Theodore tying the franchise record with 18 shootout goals. Jason Pominville would end the game in the 2nd round of the shootout after Miller stopped Jonathon Huberdeau and Peter Mueller. Miller picks up his 8th win of the season making 40 stops on the night. Jose Theodore who relieved Panthers starter Scott Clemmensen got his 3rd overtime loss on the season stopping all 15 shots he faced.
The Sabres will be back on home ice when they host Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils on Saturday Afternoon. Puck Drop is 3:00 PM and can be seen on MSG HD.
Florida: Scott Clemmensen 2-1-2 3.62 GAA .876 SV% 0 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 7-10-1 2.83 GAA .916 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 3 Panthers Won 4-3
Season Series: Panthers Lead 1-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 42-28-5
All-Time at Florida: Sabres Lead 18-17-2
Rolston gets first win as Sabres edge Lightning
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but the Buffalo Sabres were able to snap a four-game losing streak and earn the first National Hockey League win for interim coach Ron Rolston as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 Tuesday night at the sold-out Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Tyler Myers broke a 1-1 tie and put Buffalo in the lead for good on the first shot for the Sabres in the final period, just 52 seconds after the faceoff. Myers took a pass from behind the Lightning net and one-timed it behind Mathieu Garon from the right faceoff circle.
“It was great, especially the way it was done,” Rolston said of his first coaching win. “The battle level and the competitive nature we had tonight was outstanding. You could just feel it on the bench, how dialed in the guys were. It’s great and I’m really happy for our team because we’ve seen a lot of really good signs and we just needed something to keep us moving in the right direction.”
Thomas Vanek picked up his second assist in the game on the goal, Myers’ third of the season. Jason Pominville also was credited with an assist.
The Lightning entered the game with a League-leading 33 third-period goals, but came up empty in the final period despite firing 12 shots at Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller.
“We got beat by a goaltender,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “We just didn’t bury it tonight, plain and simple. We did have the offense; we usually do, but I have to give credit. The goalie on the other side was unbelievable today. It’s not like he was lucky; he played great, so I’ve got to give him credit.”
Miller finished with 30 saves and had praise for the team’s positional play.
Kopecky nets hat trick as Panthers fend off Penguins
Tomas Kopecky says he enjoys doing the dirty work. He likes it even more when his effort pays off the way it did Tuesday night.
By getting in front of the net, Kopecky sparked a Florida Panthers power play that finally came to life and led the way for a 6-4 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kopecky had two of the Panthers’ four goals with the man advantage before completing his first career hat trick with an empty-netter. For good measure, he added an assist to tie his career high of four points.
“I probably learned from one of the best in the League,” Kopecky said, referring to former Detroit teammate Tomas Holmstrom. “It’s a fun part. Sometimes you get under other guys’ skin. Somebody’s got to do it and I love it. I’ve got no problem with it.”
Kopecky clearly had the Penguins frustrated after he scored his second goal in the second period. Pittsburgh forward Craig Adams cross-checked him in the back right after the goal, knocking Kopecky into goalie Tomas Vokoun.
Vokoun reacted by punching Kopecky, who quickly got up and confronted Vokoun. Before long, all players on the ice except Panthers goalie Jose Theodore were scuffling. In the end, five penalties were called, including two on Kopecky and one on Vokoun for roughing.
Kopecky, who had scored two goals five previous times in his career, recorded Florida’s first hat trick since Kris Versteeg did it in a 5-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 10, 2011.
“One is an empty net but the other goals are scored within three feet of the net,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “That’s where he has to play the game to be most effective. When he takes the cute out of his game, he’s an extremely effective player. He was a big, big player for us tonight. We have some, you call them holes in our lineup, but there’s also a lot of guys that are ready to step up, and (number) 82 was certainly one of them tonight.”
Kopecky has six goals in his last six games and eight on the season, almost matching his total of 10 in 80 games last season.
February 28, 1996 Plante Nets Game Winner in 3-2 Overtime Win Over the Senators
On This Date 17 years ago Derek Plante scores with 24 seconds left in overtime to give the Sabres a 3-2 win over the Senators, one of five game-winners on the season for the center, behind only Pat LaFontaine’s seven (in half a season). It’s Buffalo’s fourth win in a row. They’re around .500 and within striking distance of the playoffs, but just two wins in their next fourteen games seal their fate — the last game at Memorial Auditorium will indeed be the regular season finale against Hartford. As for Plante, he is enjoying the best season of his career, although the next year he will have fewer points and lead the team in scoring.