3MI LIVE: Sabres vs. Panthers
We’re LIVE on the air from the press box at First Niagara Center, where tonight the Buffalo Sabres host the Florida Panthers.
Buffalo (6-3-0) looks to extend their home winning streak to a season-high two tonight against Florida (5-4-0), after finally winning their first of the season at the FNC on Thursday night against Columbus.
Florida is coming off a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators, a game in which they allowed the winning goal by Nick Foligno with just 2.5 seconds left in regulation.
The teams met last week in Sunrise, a 3-0 whitewashing by the Sabres. The goaltending matchup will be the same as that game, with Ryan Miller in net for Buffalo and former Hart Trophy winner Jose Theodore in net for Florida.
We will have live updates throughout the game, with commentary, so keep checking back during the game.
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Warmups // Same lineup out on the ice for Buffalo, save for Miller being first out as the starter. The Florida Panthers and South Buffalo heartthrob Tim Kennedy at the other end.
Scratches // The expected for Buffalo. Mike Weber, Jochen Hecht and Tyler Ennis. For Florida, it’s Keaton Ellerby, Sean Bergenheim and Mikael Samuelsson.
Starting lineups // Florida goes with Theodore in net, Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver on the blueline, and Scottie Upshall, Marcel Goc and Tomas Kopecky up front. Buffalo starts the Gaustad line, Sekera and Ehrhoff, and Ryan Miller.
17:46 1st // Ville Leino makes a nice play in the corner, pulling sort of a dummy and drawing a defenseman to him to create a great scoring opportunity for Drew Stafford. Very smart play. I like it.
14:31 1st // Andrej Sekera cuts off a breakaway pass by forcing a decision on a potential odd-man break. A smart, aggressive defensive play eliminates a possible scoring chance for Florida as the puck goes harmlessly to the corner. Miller stops play after an easy shot.
10:01 1st // Brad Boyes banks the puck in off the skate of Matt Ellis. Play is reviewed. Replay seems to show skate swung forward towards net. Ref says no goal. Right call.
9:02 1st // Tyler Myers takes the first penalty on another weak shift by his pairing and the Gaustad line. Not sharp at all tonight, but it’s early.
4:06 1st // Sabres on their second powerplay of the period. Did nothing on their first attempt, and quickly got another. Second chance is just as good.
End of 1st period: Sabres 0, Panthers 0. Shots are 8-5 in favor of Buffalo. Craptacular.
20:00 2nd // Florida starts the second period on the powerplay.
17:13 2nd // Panthers get one shot and no goals on the man advantage. A dreadful shift by Myers and Regehr after the penalty expires gives Florida a few more chances. That pair is not doing well.
13:12 2nd // Christian Ehrhoff misses the puck behind the net and Marcel Goc beats Miller short side with a weak attempt from the goal line. Panthers lead 1-0. ‘Soft goal’ defined.
4:32 2nd // There haven’t been any updates because nothing has happened. Matt Ellis has worked his way up to the second line with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. Sadly, Ellis has been one of the best skaters on the ice for Buffalo. That’s never a good thing.
2:03 2nd // Another atrocious powerplay. Crowd isn’t happy. The team isn’t doing anything to counteract the Panthers collapsing around their net. Lots of hopeful passes through the crease. Nothing from good angles.
1:46 2nd // Thomas Vanek is good. 1-1.
End of 2nd period: Sabres 1, Panthers 1. Shots are 18-14 Florida. The fact they got out of that period tied is near miraculous. They’re playing some awful hockey.
17:05 3rd // The Sabres have looked better in the past three minutes than they did through 40.
11:16 3rd // Jose Theodore with a cracker of a good save on a Derek Roy backhand. Period has evened out, shots are 8-4 through 8:44 of play.
10:45 3rd // The rounded piece of glass by Panthers backup Jacob Markstrom just broke. Delay as it is replaced. I bet that’s expensive.
8:17 3rd // Thomas Vanek tries splitting the defense and draws a penalty. Sabres powerplay with a huge opportunity here.
7:07 3rd // Christian Ehrhoff flags down an icing attempt, pushes a quick counter and Brad Boyes feeds Jason Pominville from his knees to take the lead. Good adjustment by Pominville, collecting the puck in the slot and firing it past Jose Theodore. 2-1 Sabres.
6:45 3rd // Florida’s Marco Sturm gets five and a game for boarding Leopold. Stafford takes a minor in retaliation. Buffalo can put a stranglehold on the game when Stafford gets out of the box.
5:19 3rd // Nathan Gerbe takes a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, then gets an additional misconduct penalty. Sabres now going to be a man short until Stafford gets out.
3:58 3rd // Florida ties it up as Tomas Fleischmann backhands the puck into the open net past Ryan Miller. An even strength goal, Florida will have a 26 second powerplay whenever Sturm’s penalty expires.
1:43 3rd // Jason Garrison takes a pass from Brian Campbell and rifles it past Ryan Miller in the high slot. A powerplay goal, one second after they gained the advantage. 3-2 Florida.
0:00 3rd // A few decent looks, but nothing spectacular and nothing that yields a tying marker, and that’s it.
End of game: Panthers 3, Sabres 2. Shots end 36-26 in favor of Florida.