By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer
Florida (19-23-7) at Buffalo (13-27-7), 7:00 p.m. EDT
A day after taking down one of the league’s top teams, the Panthers will try to avoid a letdown and beat the Sabres for the third straight time in Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Florida (19-23-7) scored the first three goals en route to a 5-1 win at Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh on Monday, ending the Penguins’ team-record 13-game home winning streak. It was also the Panthers’ largest margin of victory this season, and just the third regulation win during a 5-6-2 stretch after compiling a season-high five-game winning streak.
“I don’t think we got lucky,” said Scott Clemmensen, who had 35 saves. “I think we just willed it a little bit. It doesn’t always go your way obviously. You stick with it and nights like (Monday) happen.”
Now, Florida is looking to conclude this three-game trip with back-to-back wins by beating the Sabres (13-27-7) again.
The Panthers are 3-0-1 in their last four visits to Buffalo, winning the most recent 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 9. Brad Boyes keyed the victory, tying the game midway through the third period before scoring the only goal in the tiebreaker.
The right wing, though, hasn’t scored in five games since, but leads the team with 12 goals.
Drew Shore scored twice Monday for his first career multi-goal game. He has three goals in four games, matching his production from all of last season as a rookie.
Tim Thomas may be in net since he has a 1.91 goals-against average while winning five straight starts against the Sabres. He had 23 saves through overtime before turning aside all three attempts in the shootout Jan. 9.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner, though, has allowed six goals on 78 shots while losing his last two starts.
The Sabres have followed a season-high five-game home winning streak with a three-game slide there, falling 4-3 in a shootout to Columbus on Saturday.
Tyler Myers is giving Buffalo an unexpected scoring source, getting three goals in four games. The defenseman had two goals Saturday, forcing overtime and the subsequent shootout by scoring with 24.9 seconds left in regulation.
He has six goals and nine assists on the season, and he’s managed two and 10 in 14 career meetings with the Panthers.
Cody Hodgson has five points during a four-game streak since missing eight games with an upper-body injury, including the latest meeting with Florida.
The center had one goal and two assists in a 4-3 home loss to the Panthers on Feb. 3.
He may have a new linemate, as interim coach Ted Nolan seeks to spark the team with the fewest points in the NHL.
Linus Omark may join Hodgson and captain Steve Ott on the second line. He has one assist in nine games this season, but seems likely to replace Ville Leino, who has six assists.
“We’re looking for people that want to compete and want to work. It doesn’t matter what your skill level. Skill is nothing with no will,” Nolan told the team’s official website. “So we have to get (Leino) competing at a certain level and some days he shows it and some days he doesn’t.”