Confident Panthers square off against Sabres

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Buffalo (23-17-5) at Florida (21-16-7), 7:30 p.m. EST

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers have a good

opportunity to punctuate a surprisingly successful first half of

the season.

Seeking their sixth win in eight tries, the Panthers open a

four-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Despite losing captain Olli Jokinen to an offseason trade with

the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida has found a way to keep itself in

the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Panthers complete

their first portion of the season against Dallas on Wednesday.

All-Star Jay Bouwmeester scored for the fourth straight game and

completed a three-goal, third-period surge as the Panthers beat

the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, on Saturday. Bouwmeester's 10

goals on the season have come in the last 24 games.

The Sabres are looking to extend to their winning streak to

three games after posting a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes

on Saturday.

Tim Connolly had two goals, Teppo Numminen also tallied and

Thomas Vanek notched a pair of assists in support of Ryan

Miller, who made 26 saves against Carolina.

Miller is one win away from tying Martin Biron's 134 victories

for third all-time on the Sabres' win list for goaltenders.

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