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Panthers-Sabres Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Florida Panthers vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres haven't had much trouble beating the Florida Panthers recently. That trend certainly didn't change in the first matchup this season.

Buffalo looks to win four straight for the third time this season as it tries to continue its dominance of visiting Florida on Wednesday night.

The Sabres (12-4-1) have gotten the best of the Panthers (7-9-2) lately, winning 11 of 14 meetings. Their most lopsided victory in that span and fourth straight in the series came Oct. 21 at Sunrise, Fla., winning 5-2 behind three goals in the first 4:37 of the opening period.

That was the first of four consecutive victories for Buffalo, the second time it accomplished the feat this season. The Sabres are looking to extend their run to four again after winning 3-2 at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Ryan Miller stopped 29 shots, improving to 12-2-1 with a league-best 1.77 goals-against average. He was named the NHL's third star of the week Monday after winning all three of his starts while allowing four goals.

Miller credits the play of the defense for his success.

"They've been playing smart," said Miller, 6-1-0 with a 1.70 GAA in his last seven starts against Florida. "Our defensemen don't allow the other team to get the puck where they want it. That sets everything up and makes it a little easier for all the other guys."

Center Tyler Ennis scored in his NHL debut Saturday as right wing Drew Stafford sat out with a hip flexor injury. Stafford, tied for second on the team with five goals, practiced Monday and is expected to return for this game.

Defenseman Toni Lydman, out for the last 10 games with a groin injury, also is likely to play Wednesday.

Stafford had an assist in last month's win over Florida, which enters having played three straight shootouts. The Panthers beat Boston and the New York Islanders in the first two before falling 4-3 to Los Angeles on Monday night.

Florida blew a 2-0 lead by allowing three consecutive goals before right wing Victor Oreskovich tied it with his first career goal at 14:55 of the third period.

"I think the deciding factor for me was in the second period when we had two or three opportunities to extend the lead to three and put them away," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We didn't do that. That's why we only ended up with a point."

Goalie Tomas Vokoun was upset the Panthers didn't get two points, but he was happy they came back to earn at least one. Florida has registered points in six of eight (5-2-1) after starting 2-7-1.

"The game should have been won in regulation," Vokoun told the Panthers' official Web site. "Teams are too good. You saw the game against the Islanders. They let us back (from a 2-0 deficit) and wound up losing. Same thing happened to us today. ... We gave them too many chances. On the other hand, when it was 3-2 we battled hard and scored the tying goal."

2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '10 FLA 2 at BUF 6 N. Gerbe
Mar 20 '10 BUF 3 at FLA 1 P. Kaleta
Nov 18 '09 FLA 6 at BUF 2 C. Stillman
Oct 21 '09 BUF 5 at FLA 2 M. Ellis
S. Reinprecht199716+6411
N. Horton195914-12030
C. Stillman196713+3812
S. Weiss196410-8220
B. McCabe191910+21010
M. Frolik19639+01220
R. Olesz19549-61010
D. Seidenberg19178+4200
D. Kulikov19167-81000
K. Ballard19077-12500
J. Leopold19156+11200
R. Dvorak13224+0401
B. Allen17134-32200
V. Koistinen15134+1600
K. Kreps17044+2800
D. Booth9213-51000
D. Moore9123-2800
G. Campbell19033-31300
V. Oreskovich8112+0200
S. Matthias5101+1000
M. Repik4101+0400
K. McArdle10011-21900
J. Taffe5000+0200
J. Garrison2000-2000
T. Vokoun166-8-2445612.76.922
S. Clemmensen42-1-016995.13.838
A. Salak10-0-0276.67.714
T. Connolly1841216-3231
D. Roy1841014-41031
T. Vanek166612+11432
C. MacArthur186511-62910
J. Pominville184711-1420
D. Stafford17639-1430
T. Myers18369+31010
C. Rivet18088-32900
P. Gaustad16426+63111
P. Kaleta17235+63700
T. Kennedy18145+02401
J. Hecht18224-21101
S. Montador18134+12201
M. Ellis17134+3201
H. Tallinder18044+71200
C. Butler18044-8600
M. Grier15303-1601
T. Ennis1101+1000
A. Sekera11011-3400
A. Mair6011-2700
D. Paille2011+1000
T. Lydman4000+1200
N. Paetsch4000+0200
R. Miller1612-3-1314511.97.931
P. Lalime20-1-06414.14.854
J. Enroth10-1-04374.14.892