Sabres Finish Up Southern Swing With Meeting With The Panthers

@ 7:30 PM

Last Game:

Florida: Feb 26 vs. Penguins Win 6-4

Buffalo:  Feb 26 at Lightning Win 2-1


Florida: 6-9-4

Buffalo: 7-12-1


Florida: 16

Buffalo: 15

Rank In Conference:

Florida: 13th

Buffalo: 15th

Power Play Ranking:

Florida: 20.0(10th)

Buffalo: 11.1(T-29th)

Penalty Kill Ratings:

Florida: 73.5(29th)

Buffalo: 80.7(18th)

Goals For:

Florida: 47(T-20th)

Buffalo: 49(T-17th)

Goals Against:

Florida: 69(30th)

Buffalo: 64(27th)

Shots For:

Florida: 551(12th)

Buffalo: 597(6th)

Shots Against:

Florida: 601(23rd)

Buffalo: 668(30th)

Blocked Shots:

Florida: 257(20th)

Buffalo: 292(8th)


Florida: 412(15th)

Buffalo: 455(10th)

Face-Off Percentage:

Winnipeg: 50.0(17th)

Buffalo: 45.5(T-29th)

Team Leaders:


Florida: Kopecky and Huberdeau(8), Mueller(6), Fleischmann and B. Campbell(5), Matthias(3)

Buffalo: Vanek(12), Hodgson(8), Pominville(7), Ennis(6)


Florida: Fleischmann(9), Shore(8), B. Campbell(7), Weaver and Kulikov(6)

Buffalo: Vanek(15), Hodgson(9), Pominville, Ennis, and Ehrhoff(8), Foligno and Stafford(7)


Florida: Fleischmann(14), Kopecky and Huberdeau(13), B. Campbell(12), Mueller and Shore(9)

Buffalo: Vanek(27), Hodgson(17), Pominville(15), Ennis(14)


Florida: Shore(+4), Mueller(+2), Huberdeau(+1), Roback and Timmins(EV)

Buffalo: Ehrhoff, Sulzer, Vanek, and Ott(+3), Brennan(+2), Hecht(+1), Pardy, Kaleta, Porter, and  Ellis(EV)

Penalty Minutes:

Florida: Kopecky and Parros(24), Upshall(15), Fleischmann, B. Campbell, and Strachan(12), Huberdeau and Kulikov(10)

Buffalo: Ott(38), Kaleta(29), Scott(26), Weber(25)


Florida: Fleischmann(56), Shore(51), Huberdeau(49), Kopecky(48)

Buffalo: Vanek(71), Ennis(58), Hodgson(57), Stafford(55)

Blocked Shots:

Florida: Weaver(38), B. Campbell(30), Kuba and Kulikov(25), Strachan(21)

Buffalo: Ehrhoff(35), Leopold(31), Sekera(29), Weber(28)


Florida: Kulikov(46), Smithson(45), Skille(42), Weaver(38)

Buffalo: Ott(86), Foligno(48), Weber(44), Kaleta(40)

Face-Off Wins:

Florida: Weiss(116), Smithson(108), Goc(107), Shore(85)

Buffalo: Hodgson(169), Ott(98), Ennis(91), Hecht(68)

Today Starting Goaltender Matchup:

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.

This Day In Sabres History:

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.

Injury Report:

Florida: Caruso Broken Wrist(IR/Out), Jovanovski Knee(IR/Out), Upshall Ankle(IR/Probable), Versteeg Chest(IR/Out), Bergenheim Undisclosed(Out), Weiss Personal(Questionable)

Buffalo: Leino Strained Right Hip(IR/Out), Sulzer Lower Body(IR/Out), Leopold Upper Body(Out)

Next 5 Games:

Mar 2 vs. New Jersey Devils 3:00 PM(MSG HD)

Mar 3 at New York Rangers 7:30 PM(MSG HD)

Mar 5 at Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Mar 7 at New Jersey Devils 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Mar 10 at Philadelphia Flyers 7:30 PM(NBCS HD TSN2 HD)

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