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Game 9: Sabres at Panthers
Sabres hoping Florida offers 'sunnier' results

SUNRISE, FL (LGS) — The 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres were successful for many reasons. One was that they had the best road record in the league.

This year, the Sabres have not followed suit.

Buffalo is 0-3 on the road this season, and look to avoid losing their fourth as they travel to Sunrise, Fla. to take on the Florida Panthers in a 7:30 p.m. showdown inside the BankAtlantic Center.

Buffalo (3-5-0) has struggled to find their road game, and after their latest setback Wednesday in Carolina called a 30 min. closed-door meeting.

The Sabres couldn't keep up with the Hurricanes, as they compiled four third-period goals to win 6-2.

Jason Pominville scored both goals for Buffalo, giving him five on the young season.

Goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots in the loss, and saw his record drop to 2-5 on the season, while his 3.32 goals-against average is 27th in the league.

Buffalo has been hampered by injuries to their blue-line. With defenseman Jaroslav Spacek all ready out of the lineup, Dmitri Kalinin was hurt when he collided with Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour. The incidental knee-on-knee hit left the Sabre struggling on the ice.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said Kalinin will miss a "serious amount of time."

Also injured in the game was center Paul Gaustad, who was cut above the eye in the second period.

With Spacek's return uncertain, Buffalo recalled rookie defenseman Mike Weber to replace Kalinin on the roster.

Weber joins fellow defenseman Andrej Sekera as AHL call-ups this season. However, due to special circumstances, the two could be facing teammates of theirs from just weeks ago.

Buffalo and Florida share their AHL affiliate in Rochester, and three Florida offensemen began the year in Rochester.

The Panthers (4-5-0) are coming off of an impressive 4-3 win against the resurgent Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday. They have now won three consecutive home games.

Captain – and leading scorer – Olli Jokinen scored two record-setting goals in the victory, as he became the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer and point producer.

Scott Mellanby previously held both titles.

"It's nice, but in the big picture it's a team sport," Jokinen said. "The main thing is the team getting wins and we keep building, and for me there's no reason to look ahead or look back. I'm just going to keep going and get this team to win. At the end of the day, those points and goals don't mean anything if the team doesn't go in the playoffs."

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun, Florida's biggest off-season acquisition, made 20 saves in the win.

The Sabres won three of four games between the teams last season, though Miller only played two of them.

Buffalo will travel across-state to Tampa Bay to play Saturday. That game is also a 7:30 p.m. start inside the St. Pete Times Forum.

Fun Fact of the Game
The Sabres have not lost their first four road games of the season since the 2000-2001 season.

By Timothy Chipp, LGS Columnist
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