Sabres-Panthers Preview

The Associated Press

The Florida Panthers won't have veteran goaltender Tim Thomas through at least this weekend. A matchup with the last-place team in the Atlantic Division could make it a little easier to deal with his absence.

With Thomas recovering from a lower-body injury, the Panthers will try to send the visiting Buffalo Sabres to another defeat Friday night.

Thomas had to leave Tuesday's game against Chicago after making a save late in the third period. His replacement, Jacob Markstrom, didn't give up a goal in regulation but allowed the Blackhawks to score on two of three shootout attempts in a 3-2 defeat.

The 39-year-old Thomas, who missed four games earlier this season with an ailing groin, was placed on injured reserve the following day, putting him out through Sunday's visit from Tampa Bay. Florida (3-6-1) recalled Scott Clemmensen from the minors to take his place on the roster.

"We're confident that he's not going to be long term. (Thomas is) a quick healer," coach Kevin Dineen told the team's official website. "He played very well. He played well against Boston. He played fabulous against Minnesota, and we had a really good game going against Chicago so it's unfortunate."

The Panthers have collected three points in the last two games and will try to earn some more against the scuffling Sabres (1-9-1). Buffalo, off to the worst start in team history, allowed Boston to pull away in the third period of a 5-2 home defeat Wednesday.

The Sabres trailed by one goal entering the final period but were outshot 13-2 in those 20 minutes en route to a third straight regulation loss.

"I thought we did a good job of hanging around and doing the right things. It was just a couple mistakes. It's just not the kind of mistakes we need right now," goaltender Ryan Miller said.

Rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov was one of the bright spots for Buffalo, scoring his first NHL goal in his second game. The 18-year-old Zadorov, the 16th overall pick in this year's draft, was the second-youngest Sabre to score a goal, 136 days older than Pierre Turgeon in 1987.

"There's no better feeling than watching an enthusiastic kid get his first goal," center Steve Ott said.

The Sabres will have a second player suspended Friday, with enforcer John Scott being banned indefinitely pending a disciplinary hearing for a blindside hit to the head that leveled Bruins forward Lou Eriksson.

Patrick Kaleta has four games remaining on his 10-game suspension for his head shot to Columbus' Jack Johnson on Oct. 10.

Florida has gone 4-0-2 in the last six matchups with Buffalo. The Panthers went 2-0-1 against the Sabres in 2012-13, and are 2-0-1 in the past three home meetings.

Florida defenseman Brian Campbell had a team-best five points against his former team last season with two goals and three assists. Shawn Matthias led the Panthers with three goals in those three matchups.

What to Read Next