The center, who was smashed into the boards from behind by
Washington's Alexander Ovechkin in Buffalo's 7-4 loss to the
Capitals on Saturday, registered his first career hat trick to
lift the Sabres to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on
Briere scored twice in a three-goal outburst in the first
period. Chris Drury scored the other goal for Buffalo and Ryan
Miller finished with 29 saves.
However, before the impressive performance, Briere was in a
slump. He had not recorded a point in six of his previous seven
games after tallying 17 in his first 19 contests as the Sabres
notched a 16-2-1 record.
Olli Jokinen had the decisive power-play goal and an assist as
the Panthers ended a six-game skid, posting a 3-2 victory over
Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Gary Roberts and Jozef Stumpel each
tallied and defenseman Ruslan Salei added two assists for
Florida, which had scored just one goal in its last four games.
The Panthers will look for their first winning streak since
October 11-13, when they defeated Carolina and Tampa Bay.
However, Florida will aim for the mark without 20-year veteran
Joe Nieuwendyk, who announced his retirement on Wednesday due to
chronic back problems.