Dmitry Kulikov scored the game-winning goal in 2, on Saturday at BankAtlantic Center.

Kulikov, playing in his first game after missing the previous 23 due to knee surgery, picked up the puck and went in slowly on Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. Kulikov waited for Miller to make his move, faked to the backhand, and lifted the puck over the outstretched glove of Miller for the winner.

Derek Roy had a chance to extend the shootout for Buffalo, but his low, hard wrist shot was stopped by the right pad of Jose Theodore to seal the victory for the Panthers.

Mikael Samuelsson and John Madden scored for the Panthers, who have won four straight and extended their Southeast Division lead over the Washington Capitals to five points. Theodore made 24 saves.

Tyler Ennis and Roy scored for the Sabres, who have lost two straight, but moved to within two points of eighth-place Washington for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.