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Buffalo
Sabres
53-22-7
Florida
Panthers
35-31-16

20 SOG
45 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BUF
FLA
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Sabres-Panthers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Sabres-Panthers Preview
Buffalo Sabres vs. Florida Panthers

The Buffalo Sabres have been the team to beat all season in the Eastern Conference, but all of a sudden, they're desperate for a win.

The Sabres will try to end their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Buffalo (44-19-6) dropped its fourth straight on Tuesday night, falling 5-4 in a shootout to Pittsburgh. Each of the Sabres' previous three defeats had come in regulation.

"We're a team that relies on speed, and tonight we didn't move our legs," said Daniel Briere, who had a goal and two assists. "If we don't do that we obviously become very vulnerable, and that's what I think got us in trouble."

Despite their slide, the Sabres still have 94 points and a two-point lead over New Jersey, which lost 3-0 to the Penguins on Wednesday.

"A positive is, yes, we got out of it, we stole a point," said Briere, who scored with less than 8 minutes to play and assisted on Chris Drury's goal with 7 seconds left in regulation. "Hopefully, it's the beginning of something and the beginning of a little bit more confidence to come."

The Sabres have gone 0-for-11 on the power-play during their losing streak after scoring at least one in each of their previous seven games.

"To get a point when we're not at our best, it's something that we'll take," Drury said.

Drury, who also had an assist, had not recorded a point in the previous three games, while Briere - who leads the team with 54 assists and 83 points - had just one goal and one assist over that span.

Jochen Hecht had three assists against Pittsburgh after picking up just one in the previous three contests and Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist after recording just one previous goal during the losing streak.

Buffalo has struggled recently on the road against the Panthers, dropping its last three games in their building. The Sabres have not won there since a 2-1 victory on March 20, 2004.

However, Buffalo has won three of its last four overall against Florida, including two of three this season. Thomas Vanek has scored three goals against the Panthers in those three meetings.

Florida (29-28-13) lost for just the second time in eight games on Tuesday, falling 3-1 at Carolina. Jozef Stumpel scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who are 0-for-13 on the power play in their last three games.

"Special teams were the difference," said center Olli Jokinen, who leads Florida with 31 goals and 38 assists. "They got one on the power play and one short-handed. It shouldn't happen."

Despite its recent hot streak, Florida has only 71 points and is tied with Boston for 12th in East, seven points behind Carolina and the New York Islanders, which are tied for seventh.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 15 '07 BUF 5 at FLA 3 C. Drury
Dec 14 '06 FLA 1 at BUF 2 M. Afinogenov
Dec 07 '06 BUF 1 at FLA 3 R. Jackman
Nov 10 '06 FLA 4 at BUF 5 - OT T. Vanek