BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Whatever energy Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice sensed his team lacked in playing on consecutive nights, was evened out by Anthony Stolarz.

The backup goalie stopped 45 shots for his seventh career shutout and first this season and the Panthers became the 11th NHL team to win 10 consecutive road games, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 on Thursday night.

“We didn’t look anywhere near what we normally look like tonight. And I’m not complaining about the effort. That’s what they had to give,” Maurice said. “We just weren’t sharp or fast. But our goalie was good. And a lot of nights, that’s all that matters.”

Carter Verhaeghe scored twice, including the opening goal set up by Aleksander Barkov forcing rookie defenseman Ryan Johnson’s turnover in the right corner. Anton Lundell scored by tipping in Matthew Tkachuk’s point shot on a delayed penalty with 2:44 left in the second period, Verhaeghe added his second goal into an empty net and Ryan Lomberg capped the scoring with 11 seconds left.

Florida extended its franchise-record road winning run that is tied for the sixth-longest among NHL teams, and two short of matching the record held by Detroit (2005-06) and Minnesota (2014-15).

Though 9-5-2 on the season, Stolarz improved to 5-1-1 in his past seven starts, in which he’s allowed a combined 13 goals.

“You look at the back-to-back, you want to go out there and you want to put on a strong performance. I take a lot of pride in that,” Stolarz said a day after Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots in a 5-2 victory at Pittsburgh. “The guys were working hard for me and I try to do that in return for them.”

Florida's road streak is the league’s second-longest this season after Los Angeles’ 11-game run from Oct. 17 to Dec. 7. Florida improved its road record to 19-7-2, and hasn’t lost away from home since dropping a 3-1 decision at Calgary on Dec. 18.

The Panthers have actually been hot both home and away, going 17-3-2 in their past 22 overall in catching Boston atop the Eastern Conference standings following the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to Seattle.

Buffalo reverted to its inconsistencies by dropping to 9-8 in its past 17, and failing to build off a 7-0 victory over the Kings on Tuesday night. Eric Comrie stopped 27 shots in losing his sixth consecutive start and dropping to 1-6 this season.

Comrie got his first start in more than two months after the team announced a few hours before faceoff that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was listed as day to day because of a lower-body injury.

“Just wasn’t good enough from us,” Sabres forward Alex Tuch said. “Wasn’t good enough in those dirty areas, baring down, and I think a little too many shots from the outside with no traffic made it a little easier on them.”

This has been a familiar lament for the Sabres, coming five days after coach Don Granato complained about the team’s lack of net-front presence in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis.

Stolarz was sharp. In the second period, he got his glove up just in time to get a piece of Tage Thompson’s blast from the left circle. Five minutes into the third period, Stolarz kicked out his left pad to twice stop Kyle Okposo’s attempt to jam in a rebound during a power play.

The Sabres also failed to finish with Dylan Cozens, most notably, missing an open right side by deflecting the puck back into Stolarz, who then fell on the puck with 2:44 left.


Panthers: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Sabres: At Minnesota on Saturday night.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.