Mar 17, 2012, 11:18 PM EDT
The Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres need every point they can get right now, so after battling through the standard 60 minutes and another five minutes of four-on-four overtime hockey, neither team was willing to concede that point in a shootout. The Sabres and Panthers dueled for seven shootout rounds, before Florida finally earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis got the ball rolling with a goal just 1:15 minutes into the contest. Ennis has been explosive lately with four goals and seven points in his last four games and his linemates, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno, have been just as hot.
The Florida Panthers struck back late in the first with goals just 38 seconds apart scored by Mikael Samuelsson and John Madden. For Madden it was his second goal in as many games after failing to register a point in his first 19 contests with the Panthers.
Derek Roy found the back of the net on a power-play goal at 9:41 of the second period. However, the game got quiet after that, with Buffalo and Florida combining for a mere five shots on goal in the third period and overtime combined.
It was a goaltending duel in the shootout with Jose Theodore and Ryan Miller each surrendering just one goal in the first six rounds. Finally, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov broke the tie in the seventh round and then Theodore stopped Drew Stafford’s attempt to end the game.
With this win, Florida now has a five point lead over the Washington Capitals in the Southeast Division race with just 11 games remaining in the season. The Panthers need to stay strong in the final three weeks of the regular season, but the division is now theirs to lose. Meanwhile, Buffalo is just two points shy of eighth place, but they have also played one more contest than the eighth seed Capitals.
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