Sabres 4, Panthers 3, SO

The Buffalo Sabres are hoping a two-game winning streak is a
sign of better things to come.

Nathan Gerbe scored his first two goals of the season, Ryan
Miller made 38 saves and the Sabres beat the struggling Florida
Panthers 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.

Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville both scored in the tiebreaker
for Buffalo. Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller missed their
attempts for Florida.

Tyler Ennis also scored in regulation for the Sabres and Steve
Ott had two assists. Buffalo has won two straight since losing four
in a row and is 2-1 since Ron Rolston took over as interim coach
when Lindy Ruff was fired.

”We’ll take it. It’s a step in the direction we need to keep
going in,” Rolston said. ”We still have a big ceiling in terms of
room for improvement for our team. Our mindset has to be to get
back and be better again come Saturday night (at New Jersey).”

Brian Campbell, Marcel Goc and Drew Shore scored for the
Panthers. Jose Theodore, who replaced Scott Clemmensen in goal with
3:14 left in the first period, stopped all 12 shots he faced.

The Panthers have lost eight of their past 10 games and six of
seven at home, but have picked up a point in four of those
losses.

”You probably feel like your fans do. There’s a few games over
last week where we ended up with one point and you leave the rink
with a bad taste in your mouth,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said.
”If you look at tempo, pace, and the way the game played out,
we’re not dissatisfied with the way we played the game.”

Campbell tied it at 3 with a slap shot from the top of the left
circle with 1:26 left in regulation after the Panthers won a
faceoff.

All the other scoring came in the first period.

”It’s frustrating not getting the two points,” Campbell
said.

With the score tied 2-all, Gerbe’s second goal of the game, a
wrist shot from the short side, reclaimed the lead for the Sabres
and chased Clemmensen, who allowed three goals on 10 shots.

”That was a good game,” Gerbe said. ”We settled back maybe a
little too much in the second, (and) they took it to us. But a
resilient win for us. Obviously, we don’t want to give up that late
goal, but Ryan did a great job getting us in a shootout.”

The Panthers cut it to 2-1 on a power-play goal by Shore, the
second of the season for the rookie. He backhanded a shot from in
front that went under Miller’s pads at 14:24 of the first.

Florida tied the game at 2 less than a minute later. Goc brought
the puck out from behind the net and swept it past Miller for his
second goal in two games.

The Sabres went ahead 1-0 on Gerbe’s first goal in 17 games this
year. His wrist shot from the right circle found its way into the
net at 6:30.

”I think my speed the last 10-12 games has been real good and I
feel like I’m getting my legs back, getting the chances,” Gerbe
said. ”So hopefully, I can keep it rolling and keep scoring.”

Ennis scored a power-play goal at 11:00 to give Buffalo a 2-0
lead. A Panthers defenseman tried to clear the puck from in front
of the net but Ennis found it and flipped it in from the right side
of the crease.

The Sabres were 0 for 13 on the power play coming in.

NOTES: Florida D Mike Weaver left in the first period with a
lower-body injury and will be out for an extended period, according
to Dineen. ”I don’t want to put a timeframe on it. It’s going to
take quite a while by the looks of it,” he said. … C Stephen
Weiss returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game to attend
his grandmother’s funeral. … Buffalo D Jordan Leopold missed his
fourth straight game and remains day to day with an upper-body
injury.