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Stolarz makes 45 saves to help Panthers beat Sabres 4-0 for 10th straight road victory

By JOHN WAWROW (AP Hockey Writer)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Anthony Stolarz stopped 45 shots for his seventh career shutout and the Florida Panthers became the 11th NHL team to win 10 consecutive road games, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 on Thursday night.

Carter Verhaeghe opened the scoring midway through the first period and added an empty-netter. Anton Lundell scored by tipping in Matthew Tkachuk’s point shot on a delayed penalty with 2:44 left in the second period. Ryan Lomberg followed Verhaeghe’s empty-netter with a goal with 11 seconds remaining.

Florida extended its franchise-record road winning with the run that is tied for the sixth-longest among NHL teams, and two short of matching the record held by Detroit (2005-06) and Minnesota (2014-15).

The Panthers won on consecutive nights, following a 5-2 victory at Pittsburgh, and their road streak is the league’s second-longest this season after Los Angeles’ 11-game run from Oct. 17 to Dec. 7.

Florida improved its road record to 19-7-2, and hasn’t lost away from home since dropping a 3-1 decision at Calgary on Dec. 18. Florida’s actually been hot both home and away, going 17-3-2 in its past 22 overall.

Buffalo reverted to its inconsistencies by dropping to 9-8 in its past 17, and failing to build off a 7-0 victory over the Kings on Tuesday night. Eric Comrie stopped 27 shots in losing his sixth consecutive start and dropping to 1-6 this season.

Comrie got his first start in more than two months after the team announced a few hours before faceoff that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was listed as day to day because of a lower-body injury.

Stolarz was sharp in posting his first shutout of the season, and the second of his career against Buffalo. His best stops came in kicking out his left pad to twice stop Kyle Okposo’s attempt to jam in a rebound during a power play five minutes into the third period.

The Sabres also failed to finish.

Rookie Zach Benson was set up to the right of the net and missed the open side by shooting wide 7:30 into the first period. Casey Mittelstadt was set up at the left of the net and was unable to lift the puck over Stolarz’s outstretched pads. And Dylan Cozens missed scoring into an open right side by deflecting the puck back into Stolarz, who then fell on the puck.

The Sabres failed to win consecutive home games for just the second time this season.

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov set up the opening goal by forcing Sabres rookie defenseman Ryan Johnson to cough up the puck in the right corner. Barkov then fed Verhaeghe, who was left alone in front.

Lundell’s goal came seconds after a delayed penalty was called against Buffalo’s Tage Thompson.


Panthers: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Sabres: At Minnesota on Saturday night.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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