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Post-Game Notes: Panthers 3, Sabres 2 (SO)

by Carly Peters / Florida Panthers
In their fifth attempt this season, the Panthers won four straight games for the first time since their franchise-record, seven-game win streak (two in OT) March 2-16, 2008. The Panthers just missed winning four straight games in regulation for the first time since Feb. 10-19, 2001.

The Panthers finished off their four-game homestand, tied for their longest of the season, with a perfect 4-0-0 record, having won five straight in Sunrise. It is tied for the franchise record of consecutive home wins, most recently Jan. 16-31, 2010.

The Panthers increased their Southeast Division lead to five points over the Capitals and moved to two points behind Boston for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida has now been in first place for 106 days on the season, including a current run of 21 straight days following a two-goal, third-period comeback in a 3-2 shootout win in Carolina (Florida is 8-3-1 since that win).

Florida moved to 35-23-13, its best record through 71 games since going 37-24-5-5 in 1999-2000. With 11 games left, the Panthers’ 83 points have already surpassed their full-season totals for each of the last two seasons.

The Panthers won the season series, going 2-1-1 against the Sabres this year. Florida won in Sunrise against Buffalo for the first time since Dec. 17, 2010.

Florida won its first shootout since Feb. 25, moving to 5-8 in the shootout this season and 29-52 all-time.

Jose Theodore made 24 saves through overtime and stopped 6-of-7 Sabres in the shootout, moving to 4-0-1 in his last four games, allowing just seven goals in that span. He’s allowed two goals or less in five straight games and 12 of his 15 appearances since returning from a four-game absence (knee) on Feb. 12. He’s also 7-2-1 in his last 10 games and 22-13-7 this season

Florida scored two goals on their first two shots of the game.

Florida moved to 28-2-4 when tallying at least three goals this season, including their fourth shootout win tonight. Florida is 14-0-2 on home ice when scoring 3+ goals, which includes a stretch of 13 straight wins.

Dmitry Kulikov returned to the lineup after missing 23 games with a knee injury and registered the winning goal in the shootout. He’s now 2-for-3 in the shootout this season (and his career).

With an assist on the first Panthers goal, Tomas Fleischmann set a career high for most points in a season, 52 points (22-30-52) in 71 games this season, passing his total of 23-28-51 in 69 games with Washington in 2009-10. He has five points (2-3-5) in his last five games, 14 points (5-9-14) in his last 21 games and 18 points (7-11-18) in his last 25 contests.

Mikael Samuelsson scored the opening goal for the second straight game and now has five points (3-2-5) in a three-game point streak. He has 22 points (10-12-22) in 38 games with the Panthers after netting three points (1-2-3) in six games with Vancouver to start the season.

One game after scoring his first goal with the Panthers, John Madden scored his second in 21 games with Florida.

Ed Jovanovski registered the primary assist on Madden’s goal, his second assist in three games and 10th point (2-8-10) in 55 games this season.

Kris Versteeg returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury and fought Christian Ehrhoff in the first period. It was his first fight since skating with the Maple Leafs and dropping the gloves with Ottawa’s Mike Fisher on Oct. 9, 2010.

Shawn Matthias registered his second fight in three games and third of the season, dropping the gloves with Mike Weber in the second period.

Florida went 1-for-2 on the power play and moved to 25-2-7 when scoring with the man advantage this season.

Florida allowed the opening goal for the first time in five games but for the 13th time in 21 games. Florida moved to 13-21-5 when its opponent scores first this season.

Three Panthers missed the game due to injury, as Florida has now lost 317 man games to injury this season.

Tonight’s BankAtlantic Center attendance: 16,827

The Panthers will return to practice Monday at 11 a.m. at Iceplex

The Panthers return to action when they head on the road and visit Philadelphia Tuesday at 7 on FOX Sports Florida and 560 WQAM
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