Matthew Tkachuk scores in return, Florida Panthers defeat Buffalo Sabres 3-2

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal and had an assist in his return from injury and the Florida Panthers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Tkachuk gave Florida a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal with 4:24 to go in the first period and never relinquished it to win for the eighth time in nine games and move into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the idle Boston Bruins. Both teams have 82 points.

He missed the team's previous game against the Washington Capitals with an upper-body injury sustained last Thursday in Carolina.

Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour also scored for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves. Montour also picked up a pair of assists and has 10 points in his past five games.

Dylan Cozens and Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres while Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 35 shots.

The loss snapped Buffalo's season-long three-game winning streak and five-game road winning streak.

The Panthers extended their streak of games allowing two or fewer goals to 13.

Florida star Sam Reinhart is now on an eight-game goal drought but remains second in the NHL in goals with 39.


Sabres: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Panthers: Host Montreal on Thursday night.



Colby Guy, The Associated Press