- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Patrick Lalime made 30 saves, Jaroslav Spacek had a goal and assist and the Buffalo Sabres beat Florida 3-1 Thursday night to move within two points of the eighth-place Panthers in the Eastern Conference.

Lalime, making his eighth straight start, improved to 3-4-1 since taking over for injured starter Ryan Miller.

Daniel Paille and Thomas Vanek also scored for 10th-place Buffalo. The Sabres won their third straight at home and snapped a two-game overall losing streak.

Michal Repik scored for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun made 20 saves. The Panthers have lost two straight after winning three of four.

The Sabres helped preserve the much-needed win by killing off a two-man Florida advantage for 1:07 midway through the third period. Buffalo allowed just one shot to get through to Lalime, and blocked three others.

The game marked Florida forward Richard Zednik’s return to Buffalo, where he nearly bled to death 13 months ago after severing the carotid artery when he was cut by former teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate.

Spacek opened the scoring with his eighth goal 3 minutes into the game when his wrist shot from the top of the right circle eluded Vokoun.

Repik tied it at 1 with his second at 9:36 before Paille restored Buffalo’s lead with a wrist shot from the left circle that deflected off Florida defenseman Nick Boynton’s stick late in the period.

Vanek capped the scoring on the power play with his team-leading 34th goal with 2:52 left in regulation.

Notes:@ Panthers D Bryan McCabe missed his second game after having surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone. He was injured against St. Louis on Saturday. … Repik was recalled from Rochester of the AHL earlier in the day to help offset the loss of Nathan Horton, who will be out two to four weeks because of sliced tendon in his finger. … The teams will meet again in two weeks in Buffalo. … The first period was played penalty-free.

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