Sabres shoot for Florida sweep against Panthers

The Buffalo Sabres gave interim head coach Ron Rolston his first career win in the first part of their two-game tour of the Sunshine State.

The Sabres will try to make it a clean sweep in Florida when they visit the Panthers for Thursday's clash at BankAtlantic Center.

Buffalo went 0-2 in its first two games after the firing of longtime bench boss Lindy Ruff, but the Sabres finally ended a four-game slide with Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tyler Myers scored the game-winner less than a minute into the third period to help Buffalo get Rolston his first NHL victory. Ryan Miller also contributed 30 saves to the cause.

"It was great," Rolston said. "The battle level and the competitive nature we had tonight was outstanding."

Cody Hodgson added a goal and an assist, while Thomas Vanek finished with a pair of helpers in the victory.

The Sabres, who return home to host New Jersey on Saturday, are 4-6-0 as the road team this season.

The Panthers won for the second time in four games their last time out and the club is 4-4-4 in February. Tomas Kopecky notched the first hat trick of his career in Tuesday's victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit only to lose a 6-4 decision to the Panthers.

Tomas Fleischmann scored the winner in the third period and added two assists and Brian Campbell also had a goal and two assists for the Panthers.

"It's as close as you're going to get to a playoff game," said Campbell. "I love playing in it. It's a great test. We're a desperate team and we needed it. We can fold up and not compete but there's a lot of fight in this team and we have a ways to go but we're working on getting better."

Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore was pulled after the second period for giving up four goals on 19 shots, while Scott Clemmensen stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third for the win.

Florida's three most recent wins have come against teams from Pennsylvania, including two against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers' last victory over a team from outside the Keystone State was a 4-3 win at Buffalo on Feb. 3.

The Panthers have won three of their last four meetings against Buffalo, but the Sabres have eight victories over the past 11 encounters in South Florida.

Florida is expected to have center Stephen Weiss back Thursday after he missed the Pittsburgh game to attend his grandmother's funeral in Toronto. Fellow forward Kris Versteeg is also questionable for Thursday after sitting out the last six games with a chest injury.