NHL

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Sabres-Panthers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Buffalo Sabres are off to another fast start, and once again goaltending is a big reason why.

The Sabres look to stay undefeated on the road when they visit the new-look Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

For the third time in four years, Buffalo (4-1-0) has four wins in its first five games. The Sabres improved to 2-0 on a four-game road trip with a 3-1 win over Montreal on Tuesday.

Ryan Miller made 40 saves and Thomas Vanek scored the go-ahead goal with 2.8 seconds remaining in the second period. Jordan Leopold's first goal of the season tied the game less than eight minutes earlier.

Vanek credited Miller for helping the team overcome an otherwise sluggish offensive performance. Buffalo was outshot 41-23 - including 14-3 in the opening period - and went on the power play only once for a second straight game.

"As a team we didn't play well. We played ugly," said Vanek, who has four goals and a point in each game. "I think Ryan stole those two points. That's the only way of putting it."

Miller had an uneven season last year, winning 34 games but posting a 2.59 goals-against average - his highest in three years. However, with Buffalo upgrading its defense in the offseason, he's off to a good start with three wins in four starts and a 2.01 GAA.

Backup Jhonas Enroth was solid in Buffalo's other win, allowing two goals on 31 shots. The two have helped the Sabres kill off 18 of 20 opposing power plays.

The Sabres, who opened 4-0 on the road just two years ago, wrap up this trip Saturday against Tampa Bay.

Buffalo will hope to see the same Panthers offense that showed up Tuesday at Washington rather than they one that lit up the Lightning a night earlier. After scoring seven goals in a win at Tampa on Monday, Florida (3-2-0) had a season-low 20 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Capitals.

"We worked hard, but the only thing we had were chances from the side," winger Tomas Fleischmann said. "A good goalie like (Tomas) Vokoun can always stop those."

Jacob Markstrom made his first start and had 29 saves.

Despite the shutout, the Panthers are still off to their best start since 2006-07, when they were 3-1-1. A retooled roster, with additions like Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg, is a big reason for the quick start after the team struggled offensively last season.

Florida had the worst power play in the league (13.1 percent) in 2010-11, but is 8 for 25 thus far with the man advantage. It took 95 chances and 27 games to score eight times on the power play last season.

Campbell has seven assists while Versteeg has three goals and four assists.

The Panthers went 2-1-1 against Buffalo last season, with each team winning a road game. Miller started all four contests, giving up 12 goals - including four in each of the Sabres' two losses.

Tagged: Sabres, Panthers, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt