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Panthers bring momentum into clash with Sabres
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will try to build off a surprising blowout victory when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for Tuesday's Atlantic Division clash at First Niagara Center.
The Panthers are coming an impressive victory in Pittsburgh on Monday night, as they slammed the Penguins by a 5-1 score to end the club's 13-game home winning streak. It was the first setback for the Eastern Conference-leading Pens in the Steel City since they lost to Philadelphia on Nov. 13.
Drew Shore scored twice and Jesse Winchester added three assists to lift Florida to the victory at CONSOL Energy Center. The Panthers halted a two-game slide with the win and improved to 4-3-1 in January.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Dmitry Kulikov and Shawn Matthias also lit the lamp for the Panthers, who halted an eight-game slide in the Steel City since a 6-1 result on Jan. 3, 2009 at the now-demolished Mellon Arena.
Scott Clemmensen put the clamps down on the Penguins with 35 saves.
"This was a good showing from our guys to beat a team like Pittsburgh, it makes you feel that you can beat the good teams if you prepare and play 60 minutes," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said.
Florida hopes Monday's win is the start of a run for a club that hasn't recorded consecutive victories since a five-game streak from Dec. 10-19. In Buffalo, the Panthers are facing the only team beneath them in the Atlantic Division and the Sabres have not fared well in recent meetings between the club.
The Panthers have won two of three and four of the last six meetings in the series against Buffalo. Florida also has won two straight and three of their past four tilts in Western New York.
The clubs have split two meetings so far this year with each team winning a game on the road.
The Sabres have lost three straight games and each setback has come by a 4-3 final score. Buffalo's last two defeats came via the shootout, including Saturday's loss against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
After each shooter failed to light the lamp, Columbus forward Ryan Johansen skated in on goal and opened up Ryan Miller with several backhand-to-forehand moves and wristed a shot up top to win the game.
Tyler Myers led the Sabres with two goals, including the power-play tally that tied the game with 25 seconds left in regulation in his 300th NHL game. Drew Stafford notched Buffalo's other goal and Tyler Ennis supplied two assists.
"We're doing a better job of playing the same way throughout a 60-minute game," Myers said. "We still have lapses, but you can tell there's a huge difference to where we were even a month ago, and even two weeks ago."
Miller made 32 saves in Buffalo's fourth loss in five games.
The Sabres are playing the second test of a three-game homestand tonight. They are 9-13-4 as the host this season and will close the residency Thursday against Carolina.
01/21 11:06:59 ET