Series (Game 1 of 4)

Florida leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 15th
Game 2: Thursday, December 22nd
Game 3: Sunday, January 1st
Game 4: Saturday, February 11th

Sabres 2

(4-2-0, 8 pts)

Panthers 3

(4-2-0, 8 pts)

7:30 PM ET, October 15, 2005

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
BUF 1 0 12
FLA 0 2 13

O. Jokinen (Panthers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Briere (Sabres - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Van Ryn (Panthers - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Jokinen's late power-play goal lifts Florida over Buffalo

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- With overtime approaching, Olli Jokinen and the Florida Panthers took advantage of a late opportunity.

Olli Jokinen

AP Photo/Steve Mitchell

Florida's Olli Jokinen (center) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Mike Van Ryn Saturday night.

Jokinen scored a power-play goal with 1:07 remaining in the third period, lifting the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

He got the game-winner 17 seconds after Jochen Hecht was penalized for hooking. Jokinen took the puck off the left board near the circle, skated in on defenseman Henrik Tallinder and goalie Ryan Miller and fired a low wrist shot into the net for his second goal.

"I took it to the net, and sometimes it goes in," Jokinen said. "We won, and that's the main point. Everybody is happy. It's a better feeling than losing."

Mike Van Ryn had three assists and Roberto Luongo stopped 32 shots for the Panthers.

Jokinen's goal ruined what otherwise was a superb game by Miller, who had 39 saves.

"Ryan just misplayed it," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "You know we were in position to win the game before that, where we had several big chances in the third to put them away but we didn't."

Buffalo's Daniel Briere scored twice, tying the score at 2 when he wristed a shot from the high slot over Luongo's left shoulder 4:39 into the third period.

Second-period goals by Nathan Horton and Martin Gelinas gave Florida a 2-1 lead. Horton scored his third goal at 7:12. He took a pass from Rostislav Olesz, skated in on the left side, avoided sliding defenseman Jay McKee and fired a shot past Miller.

"The line of [Joe] Nieuwendyk, Horton and Olesz was outstanding," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "I think we had 15 scoring chances as a team and they had eight or nine chances."

The Panthers went ahead at 12:50, when Gelinas tipped in Van Ryn's shot from the right point for his first goal.

Briere scored his fourth goal at 13:13 of the first period. After Florida's Kristian Huselius turned over the puck in the Panthers' zone, Buffalo's Jean-Pierre Dumont passed to Briere, who stopped the puck and then fired past Luongo.

"I was out of position a little bit, maybe I should have stayed back more in the crease," Luongo said. "I knew that I had to try and keep them from getting the next goal. It was good that we came back from [Thursday's 5-2 loss at Boston]. I feel we're back on track again."

Game notes

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at the game. ... Florida scratches included center Chris Gratton, left winger Gary Roberts and defenseman Eric Cairns. Buffalo scratched goalie Mika Noronen, defenseman Jeff Jillson and left winger Andrew Peters. ... Buffalo's Thomas Vanek had six shots on net, and Horton had five.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press