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Bad beginning dooms Sabres

at Panthers 4 1 1 6
Sabres 0 1 1 2
SUNRISE — Marty Reasoner scored twice in the first period to help lead the Panthers to a 6-2 victory over the Sabres on Friday.

Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who led 4-0 after the first period.

Bryan McCabe and David Booth had the other Florida goals. Shawn Matthias, Evgeny Dadonov and Chris Higgins had two assists each.

Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves for Florida.

The Panthers were coming off a 4-3 loss to Carolina, a game they led 3-0 through the first 20 minutes.

Derek Roy and Tim Connolly scored for Buffalo, which was 4-1-1 in its previous six games.

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was pulled after the first period after giving up four goals on 10 shots.

Patrick Lalime stopped 14 of 16 shots in the last two periods.

Game highlights: Martin Erat scored two power-play goals to lead the visiting Predators past the Devils 3-1. Nashville has won five in a row and tied a franchise record with a point in 10 in a row (8-0-2).

Thrashers attendance woes concern NHL

ATLANTA — Thirty years after losing the Flames, Atlanta's fans are on the clock again.

The NHL wants the city to show better support for its team or the league might have to explore "alternatives."

The Thrashers, who have young talent but have made the playoffs once since entering the NHL in 1999-2000, have a winning record but rank 28th among 30 teams in attendance.

In addition, one of the team's owners, Bruce Levenson, says he has had no luck looking for local investors for almost two years.

In all, Atlanta could lose its second NHL franchise. The Flames moved to Calgary in 1980.

"I can't tell you how close or how far away we are collectively from having to consider alternatives and make a decision," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday.

"But it has not been the best situation for Bruce, and as a result, it has not been the best situation for the franchise or for the National Hockey League."

Atlanta had a chance to move into a first-place tie in the Southeast Division in Thursday night's home game against Carolina. Attendance was 11,043, slightly below the season average and more than 7,000 below capacity, for Carolina's 3-2 shootout win.

Team president Don Waddell says he expects attendance to pick up after the holidays. There could be an upswing tonight, when former Atlanta star Ilya Kovalchuk returns to Philips Arena with the Devils.

Flyers lose two: Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger will have surgery on his broken right foot and miss four to six weeks. Pronger, 36, who has four goals and 11 assists, was hurt Wednesday against the Canadiens. Defenseman Matt Walker, acquired from the Lightning for Simon Gagne during the offseason, had hip surgery and will miss six to eight weeks.

Around the league: Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is out indefinitely after aggravating a groin injury Thursday against the Flames. He previously missed eight games because of it. Jonas Gustavsson becomes the starter. … Capitals defenseman John Erskine signed a two-year, $3 million extension. Erskine has had a plus rating for three consecutive seasons, including plus-16 in 2009-10.

at Panthers 4 1 1 6
Sabres 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Florida, McCabe 4 (Matthias, Dadonov), 1:40. 2, Florida, Reasoner 5 (Dadonov, Wideman), 8:23. 3, Florida, Reasoner 6 (Garrison), 14:08. 4, Florida, Booth 8 (Frolik, Matthias), 16:28 (pp). PenaltiesAllen, Fla (hooking), 2:37; Hordichuk, Fla (holding), 9:00; Gaustad, Buf (hooking), 15:20; Leopold, Buf (holding), 16:28; Niedermayer, Buf (interference), 20:00.

Second Period5, Florida, Frolik 8 (Weiss, Higgins), 18:58. 6, Buffalo, Roy 10 (Myers, Lalime), 19:41. PenaltiesNiedermayer, Buf (cross-checking), 4:43; Kaleta, Buf (roughing), 15:18; Wideman, Fla (roughing), 15:18; Reasoner, Fla (hooking), 19:52.

Third Period7, Florida, Weiss 8 (Higgins), :13 (sh). 8, Buffalo, Connolly 6 (Hecht, Ennis), 1:41 (pp). PenaltiesKaleta, Buf (charging, roughing), 3:20; Reasoner, Fla (roughing), 3:20; Hordichuk, Fla (cross-checking), 9:00; Allen, Fla (cross-checking), 13:39. Shots on GoalBuffalo 14-12-17—43. Florida 10-7-9—26. Power-play opportunitiesBuffalo 1 of 5; Florida 1 of 4. GoaliesBuffalo, Miller 11-9-3 (10 shots-6 saves), Lalime (0:00 second, 16-14). Florida, Vokoun 12-12-0 (43-41). A16,894 (17,040).

Predators 1 1 1 3
at Devils 0 0 1 1
Predators 1 1 1 3
at Devils 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Nashville, Sullivan 9 (Weber), 19:43. PenaltiesVolchenkov, NJ (elbowing), 1:30; Sulzer, Nas (hooking), 13:42.

Second Period2, Nashville, Erat 4 (Suter, Weber), 4:56 (pp). PenaltiesPelley, NJ (tripping), 3:11; Begin, Nas (holding), 9:36; Salmela, NJ (hooking), 13:41.

Third Period3, Nashville, Erat 5 (Suter, Kostitsyn), 4:55 (pp). 4, New Jersey, Tedenby 4 (Kovalchuk, Rolston), 7:06 (pp). PenaltiesZubrus, NJ (tripping), 4:32; C.Wilson, Nas (hooking), 5:30; Langenbrunner, NJ (interference), 18:45. Shots on GoalNashville 5-12-3—20. New Jersey 4-5-7—16. Power-play opportunitiesNashville 2 of 5; New Jersey 1 of 3. GoaliesNashville, Lindback 9-1-2 (16 shots-15 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 5-13-1 (20-17). A14,137 (17,625).

Bad beginning dooms Sabres 12/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010 10:52pm]

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