SUNRISE – The message from Panthers coach Peter DeBoer to his players Wednesday morning about tonight’s game at BankAtlantic Center against the Sabres was concise.
“We have to outwork a hard-working team,” DeBoer said.
The Panthers, trying to build their first winning streak of the season after Friday’s 4-2 victory over the Flyers, will meet a Sabres team that has started the season 4-1-1 and an undefeated goalie in Ryan Miller.
“They’re a good hockey team,” DeBoer said. “We’re both pretty similar in that we have to do things the right way and get great goaltending to win. I think with both teams it’s a formula for success. Where we finished last year in the standings, within a few points of each other, I think is indicative of two pretty evenly-matched teams,
“They’re off to a good start and we’re not, and we have to fix that.”
The Panthers victory Friday against the Flyers was their best game since returning from their season-opening trip to Finland. Traffic in front of Flyers goalie Ray Emery led to two goals, Radek Dvorak scored his second short-handed goal in as many games, and Scott Clemmensen
made his Panthers debut by stopping 25 of 27 shots. Clemmensen will be back in goal tonight against the Sabres.
“He won,” said DeBoer of Clemmensen’s debut. “That’s the bottom line. Whether you win 7-6 or 2-1 we have to get wins. Tomas (Vokoun) played well in our first four or five games but we were 1-4 and we had to shake some things up in order to try and get a win, and (Clemmensen) did that and he’ll get a chance to do that again.”
The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 4-1-1 record having suffered their only regulation loss of the season Saturday to the Thrashers and goalie Johan Hedberg, who is 11-2-1 lifetime against Buffalo.
Miller had the night off against the Thrashers – Patrick Lalime took the loss – but he’ll be back this evening. Miller is undefeated with a 4-0-1 record, a 1.58 goals against average and .938 save percentage. Miller is 6-4 against the Panthers lifetime with a 2.13 goals against.
Thomas Vanek, who missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury, is expected to play this evening. Forward Clarke MacArthur, who put up some big numbers in the American Hockey League (AHL) in years past, leads the Sabres in scoring with four goals and six points. PANTHERS FORWARD LINES
Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss
, David Booth
Michael Frolik, Steve Reinprecht, Rostislav Olesz
Cory Stillman, Gregory Campbell, Radek Dvorak
Kamil Kreps, Dominic Moore, Ville Koistinen SABRES FORWARD LINES
Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford
Clarke MacArthur, Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville
Jochen Hecht, Tim Kennedy, Mike Grier
Matt Ellis, Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta NOTES
This will be the second of four consecutive weeks when the Panthers play three games in four nights. After tonight’s game, they play away Friday in Pittsburgh and Saturday in Philadelphia…DeBoer added Vokoun will likely play in Philly or Pittsbugh over the weekend…The Sabres made a minor deal Tuesday trading forward Daniel Paille to the Bruins for a third round draft pick. Paille was a first round pick (20th overall) for the Sabres in 2002…