PANTHERS (19-23-7) at SABRES (13-27-7)
7:00 PM ET; TV: FOX Sports Network; RADIO: 560 AM
Last 10: Florida 5-3-2; Buffalo 3-3-4
CAREER NIGHTS: Monday night was a great night for the Panthers as a team and individually. As a team, they beat the cream of the crop in the East in convincing fashion, downing the top team in the East, the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. That victory was propelled by a couple of career nights as Drew Shore netted his first two-goal game of his career and blueliners Mike Weaver (assist, plus-5) and Dmitry Kulikov (goal, plus-4) set career highs in the plus-minus category. The offense was also propelled by the return of a forward from injury.
WELCOME BACK JESSE: Missing the last 14 games of the season due to an upper body injury, forward Jesse Winchester didn’t look any worse for the wear in the time he missed as he set up three of the Panthers goals Monday night. The three assists were both career highs in assists and points while his plus-3 on the night tied a career high. Last playing over a month ago (Dec. 15), Winchester had a goal before going down with the injury in Montreal.
THREE SPOT: Florida had posted three goals in a period just once in their first 45 games, ironically in period three of their season opener in Dallas. The offense has struck quickly tripling that number thanks to two three-goal period outbursts in their last four games. After posting three goals in the opening period against the Islanders last Tuesday, Florida struck for three in the third period against Pittsburgh as Kulikov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Shawn Matthias (latter two came 12 seconds apart) all scored in the Panthers win going away.
KILLIN IT: The Panthers penalty kill unit has continued their remarkable play of late. After killing off all three Penguins power play chances Monday night, the Panthers have not allowed a power play goal in their last 10 straight games, dating back to Dec. 29. Killing off 29 straight penalties overall, the 10 straight games in the most in franchise history, two more than the previous high.
GOALIE BATTLE?: When it comes to the Panthers and Sabres, expect a goaltending battle. The teams have combined for six regulation goals between them in two games this season. Buffalo earned a 3-1 victory in Sunrise earlier this year while Florida took a come-from-behind 2-1 shootout victory less than two weeks ago in Buffalo. Tim Thomas and Jhonas Enroth were the goalies of choice in the first two games and Thomas has been stellar for the Panthers of late, posting a 6-3-2 with .928 save percentage in his last 11 games. Cats netminder Scott Clemmensen has been no slouch either. After stopping 35 of 36 shots against the Penguins, Clemmensen is 6-2-0 with a .922 save percentage over his last eight games.
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