Preview: Panthers at Sabres

By Alex Bussani

The Sabres are set to take on the Florida Panthers tonight at HSBC Arena. The game has a 7:30PM start and I’ll be in attendance yet again. Buffalo will be looking to maintain it’s 3-point lead for the 8th spot in the Eastern standings on the Carolina Hurricanes, who are also in action tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Sabres are coming off an important road win in Montreal, while the Panthers are continuing a 5-game road trip which they opened up by being shutout on consecutive nights, losing 0-1 and 0-4. Florida has enjoyed general success against Buffalo this year, winning the first two meetings, 4-3 and 6-2. Buffalo however, did win the third and most recent meeting this season, a 3-2 victory in overtime where Sabres’ star defenseman Tyler Myers scored on a wicked slapshot with only 5 seconds remaining in the OT period.

That being said, a 2-0-1 record against Buffalo this year is still comfortable enough to give the Panthers some confidence heading into tonight’s matchup. Florida – while just about mathematically out of the playoff race barring a miracle – is known for giving good hockey teams some trouble, just not recently. They did have the Sabres’ number earlier this year, but Buffalo seems to have developed and improved as a hockey team since then. Still, confidence for the Panthers heading into tonight’s game, plus desires to end the 2-game shutout streak and finish the season off strong all work to Florida’s advantage.

The Sabres need to be ready to finish off the Florida Panthers tonight and continue a playoff push, which is by no means wrapped up. A couple of losses down the stretch, and Buffalo could surrender that contested 8th spot. Winning is always the most important thing for an NHL club, but that can’t be repeated to the Sabres’ players enough right about now.

Follow @Sentrix27 on Twitter for live tweets from HSBC Arena, starting at 7:30PM

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