THE AFTERMATH: SABRES 3, PANTHERS 0
Vanek scores pair; Miller stops 22 in Sabres win.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres are at home on the road.
Thomas Vanek scored two goals, and Ryan Miller made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season in the Sabres' 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Jason Pominville added a goal and an assist for the Sabres.
Buffalo has five wins in its first six games and is undefeated in four road games. Buffalo, which opened 4-0 on the road two years ago, travels to Tampa on Saturday to finish up its trip.
Miller shut out Florida after making a season-high 40 saves Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory in Montreal.
"I thought that was probably our best game of the year when it comes to supporting the puck, coming out together, coming out with speed," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
"We owed (Miller) one, so I thought that was important, too, for the way we played in Montreal. I thought that last 40 minutes and especially when leading we stayed away from any of the odd-numbered stuff and we were going to make Florida earn something if they were going to get it."
The Panthers never really mounted much of a scoring threat, and only managed six shots in the final period. After scoring seven goals at Tampa on Oct. 17, the Panthers have not scored since. ...MORE.
The struggles of Ville Leino have been well documented since his arrival in Buffalo. Leino has collected a lone goal in the first game of the year and since been under the microscope and struggled to find chemistry with his linemates. That all seemed to change on Thursday night as a late line change positioned Leino on the ice with Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. Nearing the end of his time on the ice, Leino continued to press Florida defeneman Keaton Ellerby. Leino eventually lifted Ellerby’s stick turned out hard to the left and rushed at goaltender Jose Theodore. To Theodore’s surprise, Pominville was sneaking down the backside. As Leino calmly looked off Theodore, Pominville tapped in the puck to give the Sabres a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Ryan Miller: For all the big dollars spent in free agency and the media coverage of trades, the revamped Florida Panthers could only muster 22 shots against the Sabres. Buffalo’s netminder promptly turned all of those away. Initially facing a hard-pressing Panthers attack, Miller turned away all nine shots in the first period and fell into a groove forcing the Panthers to play a more aggressive style that ultimately they were not ready to play leading them to have only six shots in the third period.
- Tonight’s match-up was the first time that Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff faced off as a coach against Kevin Dineen. Dineen coached the AHL’s Portland Pirates for six years, three of which the Pirates were the AHL affiliate of the Sabres.
- South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy played in tonight’s game sporting number eight for Florida. Kennedy was called up from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL prior to the game.
- Thomas Vanek extended his point streak to six games as he notched two goals in the game. Vanek is averaging a goal-a-game and has 10 points (6+4) on the year.
- Paul Gaustad and Matt Bradley dropped the gloves in the second period. It was Gaustad's second fight of the year.
- Leino collected his first assist as a Buffalo Sabre when he fed the puck to Pominville for the second goal of the game.
- Miller turned away all 22 shots in the game leading to his first shutout of the season and the 23rd of his career.
Following the game, the Sabres boarded a plane for Tampa Bay where they’ll cap off a four-game road trip with a 7 p.m. match-up with the Lightning on Saturday. The Sabres faced the Lightning four times last year splitting the series 2-2. Buffalo returns home Tuesday to face the Lightning at the First Niagara Center (7:30 p.m.).