(SportsNetwork.com) – The Buffalo Sabres will look to rebound on Saturday
night against an opponent that they have struggled against as of late.
The Sabres hope to snap a four-game series losing streak to the Florida
Panthers as the two clubs clash at BB&T Center.
Buffalo is coming off just its second loss in eight games, but it was a bad
one as the club fell 5-0 to Tampa Bay on Thursday in the conclusion of a home-
and-home set. The Lightning’s Ben Bishop had to make just 13 saves to record
the shutout at home.
Jhonas Enroth gave up all five Tampa Bay goals on 35 shots for the Sabres, who
were coming off a sweep of a home-and-home set with Montreal and then a
victory at home over Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a shootout.
“We just lost track of what we have to do in order to be successful,” said
Sabres head coach Ted Nolan.
Nolan did not have the services of forward Drew Stafford for a third straight
game because of a lower-body injury, but he could return to action tonight.
The Sabres have lost eight of their past 11 against the Panthers, including a
1-0 setback at home back on Oct. 17. Enroth made 34 saves, but it will be
Michal Neuvirth who starts in goal tonight.
Neuvirth, who has not started since Nov. 18, is 3-4-1 with a 2.69 goals
against average and .919 save percentage in his career versus Florida.
Sean Bergenheim scored and Roberto Luongo posted a 26-save shutout for the
Panthers, who are 3-1-1 in their last five versus the Sabres at home.
Luongo is 11-6-2 with a 1.83 GAA, .941 save percentage and four shutouts
lifetime when facing Buffalo.
The Panthers had won three of four before suffering a 4-3 shootout setback to
the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Florida failed to win in regulation or
overtime despite putting 55 shots on net.
In fact, the Panthers had to overcome a three-goal deficit just to earn a
point, doing so by outshooting the Blue Jackets 38-7 over the second and third
“The first period we didn’t come out like we wanted to,” said Florida’s Nick
Bjugstad. “Everybody kind of bought in there in the final two periods.”
Bjugstad notched two goals and an assist, while Tomas Fleischmann added a
goal with an assist. Luongo made 17 stops in the setback.
The Panthers are expected to be without forward Aleksander Barkov for a third
game in a row tonight because of a bruised hand.