By Rick Menning
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) — The Buffalo Sabres started their
six-game road trip off on the right foot with a 3-2 shootout
victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center on
Ryan Miller turned aside 27 shots in regulation and stopped both
attempts in the shootout for Buffalo, which claimed its third
Ales Kotalik and Derek Roy tallied in the bonus format while
Thomas Vanek scored and Tim Connolly notched his third goal in
two games during regulation for the Sabres.
David Booth scored on penalty shot and added an assist, Nathan
Horton also tallied and Tomas Vokoun finished with 21 saves for
Florida, which is 5-0-3 in its last eight games.
The shootout loss was the Panthers’ fourth straight and sixth in
eight which have ventured into the bonus format this season.
Florida rallied a 2-1 deficit with 3:24 remaining in the third
after Horton accepted a feed from Booth from behind the net and
fired a one-timer past Miller.
The Sabres capitalized on their second power-play opportunity
just 4:22 into the third period to take the lead in a matchup of
two teams who entered play two points apart in the Eastern
All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was serving his second minor
of the period when Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek netted his 28th from
close range off the pad of Vokoun.
The Panthers had jumped ahead 1-0 when Booth netted his
team-leading 19th goal on a penalty shot with 3:31 remaining in
the first period.
It was the first such goal scored against Miller, who had
stopped all eight previous attempts. The tally was also the
first penalty-shot goal allowed by the Sabres since December 4,
Miller, who was 8-for-8 in penalty shot stops, was beaten
cleanly to the stick side by Booth, who was held from behind by
defenseman Henrik Tallinder on a breakaway.
It was Booth’s 16th point in his last 14 games.
With just over two minutes left in the second period, Buffalo
tied the game at 1-1 with a fortunate bounce following an
initial shot by Connolly from the faceoff circle to the left of
The shot found the stick of Florida’s Gregory Campbell, who
tried for the clear but instead the puck caromed off the skate
of defenseman Karlis Skrastins and just inside the far post.
The equalizer proved a tough turn of events for the Panthers,
who outshot the Sabres by a 10-6 margin in the period and 19-13
heading into the final 20 minutes.