Florida Panthers Host the Surging Buffalo Sabres for Divisional Duel

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 7: Michael Matheson #19 of the Florida Panthers skates between Nicholas Baptiste #13 and Josh Gorges #4 of the Buffalo Sabres at the BB&T Center on April 7, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Matheson;Nicholas Baptiste;Josh Gorges
SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 7: Michael Matheson #19 of the Florida Panthers skates between Nicholas Baptiste #13 and Josh Gorges #4 of the Buffalo Sabres at the BB&T Center on April 7, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Matheson;Nicholas Baptiste;Josh Gorges /

Tonight at 7:00 P.M., the Florida Panthers will host the Buffalo Sabres at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Tonight’s game is the first of four this season between the Florida Panthers and the Sabres. They’ll play twice at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York on December 18th and January 3rd. On February 19th, they’ll return to BB&T to close the regular season series.

The Panthers are playing in the fourth game of an eight-game homestand. They lost in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-4 on Saturday, defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-3 in overtime on Monday, and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

After tonight’s contest, they’ll host the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night, the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, and the New York Rangers next Saturday.

The Buffalo Sabres won 10 games in a row before last night’s tilt against the Lightning. They’ll finish up against the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – NOVEMBER 28: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks defends the net against Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 28, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

"“These kind of games we’ve got to at least get a point. We can’t get scored on late like that. You’ve got to battle through it the whole 60 (minutes).” – Huberdeau, on the Panthers allowing a game-tying or game-winning goal in the last two minutes for the second time in the past three games, per Alain Poupart on NHL.COM"

All-Time Series

The Panthers are 44-41-4-7 in 96 games against the Sabres in the last 25 years. Their .516 points percentage is their sixth best against other teams in the NHL.

This Day in History

The Panthers are 1-4-1-0 on November 30th. They’ve never faced Buffalo on this date. Their only win was in 2008, in a 4-0 shutout of the New York Rangers.

In that game, Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist each. Gregory Campbell and Ville Peltonen each also lit the lamp, while Radek Dvorak and Karlis Skrastins had two helpers each.

Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan McCabe closed out the scoresheet with an assist apiece. Craig Anderson stopped all 37 shots he faced for the shutout. And there was this:

Common Thread

Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk played four seasons for the Sabres starting in 2012-13. In 125 contests, he had 21 goals and 26 assists.

Florida Panthers
BUFFALO, NY – APRIL 08: Mark Pysyk #3 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL game on April 8, 2016 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /


Florida Panthers: 9-10-4, 22 points, .478 points percentage, on pace for 78 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 23rd in the NHL. Last Five: L-L-O-W-L, Playoff Odds: 15.7%

Buffalo Sabres: 17-7-2, 36 points, .692 points percentage, on pace for 114 points. Tied for second in the Atlantic Division, tied for second in the Eastern Conference, tied for second in the NHL. Last Five: W-W-W-W-L, Playoff Odds: 90.9%

Starting Lineup

Florida Panthers



34 (confirmed, via dailyfaceoff.com)

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff SkinnerJack EichelSam Reinhart
Tage ThompsonCasey MittelstadtKyle Okposo
Evan RodriguesVladimir SobotkaJason Pominville
Remi ElieJohan LarssonZemgus Girgensons

Jake McCabeRasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus DahlinZach Bogosian
Nathan BeaulieuCasey Nelson

Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)

Injury Report (per hockey-reference.com)

Florida Panthers

Roberto Luongo is likely out with a lower-body injury.

Derek MacKenzie is on the IR with a bad shoulder.

Denis Malgin is out with an upper-body issue.

Jamie McGinn had back surgery and is out for likely the season.

Vincent Trocheck had surgery on a broken ankle and will be back before the end of the year.

Buffalo Sabres

Patrik Berglund is on the IR with an upper-body injury.

Marco Scandella is likely out with a lower-body injury.

Conor Sheary is questionable with an upper-body injury.

Scott Wilson is on the IR in recovery from ankle surgery.


Florida Panthers

Games: Alexander Petrovic will pass Mike Weaver into sole possession of 42nd on the all-time list with his 247th Panthers game.

Goals: Dadonov will tie Jaromir Jagr, Stu Barnes, and Jesse Belanger in 28th with his next goal, number 49 with Florida.

Ekblad’s next will move him past Kristian Huselius into 18th, with 59. Bjugstad’s next, his 87th, will tie him in 13th with David Booth. Huberdeau just scored number 100, and with his next will tie Rob Niedermayer and Viktor Kozlov in eighth all-time.

Florida Panthers
8 Mar 1999: Rob Niedermayer #44 of the Florida Panthers skates down the ice during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Canada. The Panthers defeated the Canadiens 5-2. /

Assists: Dadonov is in a three-way tie with Dave Lowry and Ray Sheppard in 40th, with 60 assists. Barkov is three assists shy of 165, which would tie him in seventh with Niedermayer.

Points: Dadonov’s next point will tie him in 37th with Cory Stillman, with 109. Ekblad will tie Tomas Fleischmann in 19th with his next point, giving him 145.

Huberdeau will move into sole possession of fifth on the Panthers all-time list with his next point, his 292nd, breaking a tie with Kozlov. He’s four behind Nathan Horton.

Buffalo Sabres

Games: Ristolainen and Girgensons are tied with Toni Lydman in 46th, with 371 games played.

Goals: Reinhart will tie Rick Dudley in 47th with two goals, which would give him 70. Eichel’s next, his 79th, will tie Jason Dawe in 41st. Pominville has 210 and is one from tying Alexander Mogilny in 11th.

Assists: Ristolainen is tied with Donald Audette in 42nd all-time with 131 assists.

Florida Panthers
21 Mar 1998: Donald Audette #28 of the Buffalo Sabres in action during the Sabres 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York. /

Points: Eichel’s next point will tie him in 45th with Gilles Hamel, with 206.

Stat Leaders

Florida Panthers

Games: Bjugstad, Ekblad, Yandle, Barkov, Dadonov, Mike Hoffman, Huberdeau – 23

Goals: Hoffman – 12, Dadonov – 10, Barkov – 8

Assists: Huberdeau – 19, Yandle – 17, Barkov, Dadonov – 13

Points: Huberdeau – 24, Dadonov, Hoffman – 23

Plus-Minus: Malgin, Sceviour, Bjugstad +2

Shots-on-Goal: Hoffman – 88, Barkov, Dadonov – 63

Hits: Petrovic – 56, Brouwer – 41, Trocheck – 36

Blocked Shots: Mike Matheson – 34, Petrovic – 32, MacKenzie Weegar – 27

Takeaways: Barkov – 41, Hoffman – 19, Trocheck – 17

Faceoff Percentage (min six attempts per team-game): Barkov – 54.1%, Trocheck – 53.9%, Bjugstad – 50.0%, Jared McCann – 45.1%, Juho Lammikko – 44.9%

More from Panthers News

Buffalo Sabres

Games: Mittlestadt, Dahlin, Ristolainen, Okposo, Reinhart, Pominville, Skinner, Eichel – 26

Goals: Skinner – 19, Pominville – 9, Sheary – 6

Assists: Eichel – 25, Reinhart – 14, Dahlin, Ristolainen – 12

Points: Eichel – 30, Skinner – 27, Reinhart – 19

Plus-Minus: Skinner +14, Dahlin +8, Casey Nelson +6

Shots-on-Goal: Eichel – 105, Skinner – 82, Ristolainen – 61

Hits: Ristolainen – 85, McCabe – 42, Girgensons – 39

Blocked Shots: McCabe – 44, Ristolainen – 39, Bogosian – 37

Takeaways: Skinner – 21, Eichel – 14, Reinhart, Girgensons – 9

Faceoff Percentage: Larsson – 49.1%, Eichel – 47.7%, Sobotka – 44.6%, Mittelstadt – 39.1%


Sabres elder statesman Pominville turns 36 today.

Next. Poor Execution Prevents the Panthers a Point. dark

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