BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Florida Panthers had two goals disallowed in the third period and clanged five off the iron goal-posts. But the last one struck gold.
Brad Boyes scored the tying goal in the third and the lone shootout tally that ricocheted off the post and then caromed off the skate of goalie Jhonas Enroth to give the Panthers a sorely needed 2-1 victory over the lowly Sabres on Thursday night at First Niagara Center.
Despite being a team in total flux with the hiring general manager Tim Murray earlier in the day, the Sabres are somehow 6-0-2 in their last eight home games. The Panthers evened up a chilly road trip at 1-1 with the finale on Saturday in New Jersey.
Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (23 saves) stopped all three shots in the shootout to even his record to 11-11-2 this season and 5-1-1 over his last seven starts.
"I think everyone in here would say we could be better," Thomas said. "The good news is we picked it up in the third period and found a way to come out with the two points. ... (Boyes) is the finisher."
Jonathan Huberdeau appeared to have the shootout winner, but the refs and Toronto judges said he pushed Enroth into the net. Boyes is the active shootout king with 37 SOGs.
"Being here and going against (Enroth) in practice a lot. He was waving his glove taunting me," said Boyes, who played 86 games for the Sabres from 2011-12. "I changed it up a bit. It was nice to get it on him."
After Tomas Fleischmann clanged two point-blankers off the post early in the third, defenseman Tom Gilbert ripped a rebound from the right dot that Boyes deflected in to tie 1-1 at 9:16. It was Boyes' team-leading 12th goal.
Moments later, Boyes flicked in another goal, but it was waved off by the referee because he blew the whistle when he saw defenseman Dmitry Kulikov take a stick to his bleeding face. No penalty was called and the play isn't reviewable.
"I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but looking at the replay, Huberdeau's goal should've counted and Boyes' goal should've counted," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. "Maybe it worked out in our favor the way it was supposed to."
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead at 5:13 of the second on defenseman Jamie McBain's slot-shot.
The Panthers outshot the Sabres 35-24 Thursday and 45-21 in their 3-1 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 25 also against Enroth, whose only win this year (1-8-4) has come against Florida.
Miller time in Florida?
With Panthers goalies Tim Thomas and Scott Clemmensen both in their final year of their contracts, along with Jacob Markstrom's slow development, General Manager Dale Tallon must address the most important position on the ice.
Sabres' Vezina Trophy-winning starter Ryan Miller, 33, a pending unrestricted free agent, told the Sun Sentinel that, he has two sets of grandparents in Lakeland and Stuart and that Florida's, "a good spot."
"My situation here has to play out before I could consider anything else," Miller said. "I'm happy that Florida has new ownership. It's important for every team to be healthy. Florida's a good spot."
Despite playing for the worst team in the NHL, Miller has a 2.64 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage. ...
Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell, played in his 800th game Thursday, and he began his career in Buffalo.
Horachek rips Matthias
Horachek benched slumping forward Shawn Matthias for the first time this season.
Matthias, who scored 11 of his career-high 14 goals in March last season, has four goals, but one in his last 21 games. Matthias is averaging just 12:24 of ice time on the fourth line, down from 15:11 last year.
"He needs to stay focused and play with more detail. He seems to get distracted very easily; detail in his game isn't where it needs to be," Horachek said. "He's got to get on the same page with everybody else."
Matthias bit his tongue when told of Horachek's words.
"I'll show him what I can do," Matthias vowed. "Just trying to stay positive right now. I don't think my work ethic has ever been questioned."
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