PANTHERS 3, SABRES 2 (SO): Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov scored in the seventh round of the shootout as Florida picked up its fourth straight victory.
Mikael Samuelsson and John Madden scored and Jose Theodore made 24 saves - and six more in the shootout - for the Panthers, who moved five points ahead of the Washington Capitals in the Southeast Division. They also pulled to within two points of the Boston Bruins for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Returning after being sidelined with a knee injury, Kulikov skated in before using a hesitation move on Ryan Miller and going to the backhand for the tally. The Sabres had another chance but Theodore stopped Drew Stafford to clinch the win.
Florida did not get a shot on goal in the first period until Samuelsson knotted it at 1-1 on the power play with 2:45 left in the session. The Panthers struck again 38 seconds later on a breakaway, when Madden came up the left side and slowed at the circle, sending a wrist shot past Miller.
Derek Roy scored the tying goal in the second period on the power play, backhanding his 15th goal off a rebound.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Buffalo, which has collected a point in four straight games, is two points behind the Capitals for the No. 8 spot in the East. … The Panthers managed only one shot in the third period and four in the first. … Florida has four power-play goals in its last three games.