The Buffalo Sabres exploded for five goals in the first period Wednesday night in Florida. That was all they would to beat the Panthers.
Mike Grier and Jason Pominville eached scored a goal in the first two minutes, forcing the Panthers to pull Scott Clemmensen. Clemmensen faced three shots, making one save.
Florida outshot the Sabres 17-16 in the first, but Buffalo scored five times. Matt Ellis and Derek Roy scored their firsts of the season.
The Sabres were glad to see Thomas Vanek back in the action. He scored his 4th goal this season, putting Buffalo up 4-1.
After six goals were scored in the opening period, neither team could score one in the second. Florida added a goal late in the 3rd as Olesz scored his 2nd of the year.
Then both teams began the physical play. Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Horton got into a little scrap, not resulting in much. After both players got out of the penalty box, horton took a slash at Kaleta, starting a fight. Kaleta got the upper hand, but Horton wanted more. It took three officials to get Horton away from Kaleta. Horton received a game misconduct.
A few minutes later Clarke MacArthur was called for interference. It looked as if Florida should have received the penalty, but MacArthur went to the box, slammed his stick, and was kicked out of the game.
Ryan Miller was solid once again in net, stopping 41 of 43 shots, earning his fifth win of the season. Miller improves his record to 5-0-1 this season.
Buffalo has now allowed 14 goals on the season, 2nd best in the NHL (Phoenix has allowed 10).
The Panthers outshot the Sabres 43-36, but Buffalo was able to capitalize on their chances.
With the win, Buffalo moves into first place in the Northeast Division. They are now 5-1-1 with 11 points. Florida drops to 2-5 on the season.
Meanwhile back in New York, the Islanders earned their first win of the season. John Tavares won the game in the shootout for the Islanders.