Tkachuk, Ekblad score as Panthers beat Sabres for 4th straight win

Teammates congratulate Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthers after he scored a first period goal against the Buffalo Sabres at the FLA Live Arena on April 4, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) (Joel Auerbach, 2023 Joel Auerbach)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Matthew Tkachuk snapped a tie in the opening minute of the third period, and the Florida Panthers topped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Tuesday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Aaron Ekblad also scored for Florida, and Alex Lyon made 40 saves for his fourth straight win.

It’s the longest win streak of the season for the Panthers (40-31-7), who moved into a tie with the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Eastern Conference wild-card standings. Florida owns the first tiebreaker because of its regulations wins.

Pittsburgh is one point behind Florida and New York with four games left for each team.

Dylan Cozens scored for Buffalo, which had won four of five. Devon Levi, a seventh-round pick by Florida in the 2020 draft, made 34 saves in his first loss in two NHL starts.

The Sabres (37-32-7) are six points behind the Panthers and Islanders. The Sabres have six games left.

Cozens scored on a Buffalo power play 8:58 into the first period. It was his 29th goal of the season.

Ekblad tied it with a power-play goal with 4:13 remaining in the first. Ekblad’s shot clipped the goal cage and deflected off Levi on its way to the back of the net.

After a scoreless second, Tkachuk deflected in a Brandon Montour shot from inside the blue line 59 seconds into the third.


With his assist on Cozens’ goal, Tage Thompson became the 10th player in Sabres history to hit 90 points in a single season. He is the first to accomplish the feat since Daniel Briere had 95 points during the 2006-07 season. ... Florida was again without the services of G Sergei Bobrovsky (illness) and C Sam Bennett (lower-body injury). Bobrovsky has missed the past four games for Florida; Bennett the past eight.


Sabres: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

Panthers: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.


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