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Panthers easily handle Sabres, 4-1

Jan 16, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour (right) scores a goal against Buffalo Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) in the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Tkachuk had three assists and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves as the Florida Panthers defeated the host Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Monday afternoon.

Florida is 5-2-0 in its past seven games, its best stretch of the season.

The Panthers got goals from Brandon Montour — a former Sabres defenseman — Sam Bennett, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe (empty-netter).

Tkachuck leads the Panthers in goals (22) and assists (34). He also has a seven-game points streak (five goals, eight assists).

Bobrovsky improved his record to 12-13-1, beating a Sabres team that entered the day ranked No. 1 in the NHL with an average of 3.85 goals per game.

Montour’s goal was his 36th point of the season, which is one short of his career high.

Alex Tuch scored Buffalo’s lone goal, his 21st of the season. His previous career high was 20 goals in 2018-2019.

Buffalo goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (10-5-1), who made 30 saves, took the loss.

Florida opened the scoring with 4:01 expired in the first period as Montour jammed in a loose puck in the crease. Tkachuk got the assist.

The Panthers made it 2-0 with 8:04 gone in the second as Bennett scored on a rebound from the right circle. Tkachuk again got the primary assist as his shot was stopped. But the goal was the result of hard work from the line of Bennett, Tkachuk and Verhaeghe.

Florida extended its lead just 34 seconds into the third on Lundell’s first goal since Nov. 28. Reinhart set up the goal, dishing to his right on a 2-on-1 rush.

Buffalo finally got on the board with 8:33 left in the third as Rasmus Dahlin made a quick pass to Tuch, who gloved the puck, took two strides and scored from the right circle.

Verhaeghe’s empty-netter with 1:38 left sealed Florida’s victory.

–Field Level Media