Series (Game 2 of 4)

Buffalo leads 3-1

Game 1: Friday, November 10th
Game 2: Thursday, December 7th
Game 3: Thursday, December 14th
Game 4: Thursday, March 15th

Sabres 1

(21-5-2, 44 pts)

Panthers 3

(10-15-5, 25 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 7, 2006

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 1 01
FLA 0 1 23

S. Weiss (Panthers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

A. Auld (Panthers - G): Saves: 17, Save Pct.: .944

R. Jackman (Panthers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Buffalo (21-4-2) at Florida (9-15-5) 7:30 pm EST

Buffalo (21-4-2) at Florida (9-15-5) 7:30 pm EST

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) - Daniel Briere did not appear to be still hurting in his last contest.

Briere and the first-place Buffalo Sabres will travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

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 Tuesday.

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.