This was the third of four meeting between the teams this season. Buffalo brought in a five point lead in the Northeast Division, while the Panthers were seven points out of a playoff spot.
The Panthers’ Nathan Horton has been activated off of the injured reserve and collected two assists in his last game. Ryan Miller is 5-1-1 in his last seven games and looks to help lock up the division with a few more wins.
Jochen Hecht started the scoring with a goal from a bad angle. Tomas Vokoun left just enough space between him and the post to allow Hecht to get the game’s first goal.
Towards the end of the first period, Patrick Kaleta drew Nathan Horton into a fighting penalty. Horton dropped the gloves and started throwing punches, while Kaleta never even let go of his stick. The play resulted in a four minute power play for the Sabres, but it was cut short due to a penalty to Tim Connolly.
In the second period, Kaleta scored on another tough angle shot to put the Sabres up by two. It was Kaleta’s tenth goal of the season. The goal forced the Panthers to pull Vokoun out of the net. Vokoun stopped 17 of 19 shots, but was replaced by Scott Clemmensen.
Florida finally got on the board in the second period as Miller didn’t get much support. Byron Bitz put home the rebound to cut the Sabres lead in half. Mike Grier jammed in a rebound for the Sabres third goal of the night.
The Sabres improved to 24-0 when leading after two periods. With the win, Buffalo now has a seven point lead over Ottawa for the lead in the Northeast Division.