Buffalo Sabers help Florida Panthers in Atlantic

The Florida Panthers didn’t do themselves many favors when it came to the Atlantic Division standings on Sunday, despite picking up a point in a tough 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in ‘a shooting.

With the shootout loss, the Panthers lead in the Atlantic was reduced to four points as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the host Vancouver Canucks.

Earlier in the day, the Buffalo Sabers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 in the NHL Heritage Classic played away at Tim Hortons Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., which helped Florida to get ahead of the Leafs.

Vinnie Hinostroza, who played for the Panthers last season, scored twice in the freezing cold and assisted on another goal.

Craig Anderson, who still lives in Parkland after playing three seasons for the Panthers, made 32 saves to slow down the high-flying Leafs.

It was Buffalo’s second win over the Leafs this month.

The Panthers and Leafs have not faced each other and meet for the first of three regular season meetings later this month.

But after getting a point in Los Angeles and losing the Leafs, Florida now has a seven-point lead over Toronto, which is really helping the Panthers put together a first-round playoff.

Of course, the Panthers still lead the Atlantic and are certainly trying to contain the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winning the division would secure home ice for the first and second rounds and avoid a first-round meeting with the Lightning or Leafs.

AROUND THE NHL

Speaking of the Heritage Classic, according to Sportsnet, it looks like Edmonton will host the game in 2023-24. You can start regrouping now.

Carolina will host the Washington Capitals at the NC State football stadium across from the Hurricanes arena next season.

We’re still waiting for that Panthers-Lightning tilt at Marlins Park.

This could to work.

–Sportsnet’s Elliotte Fridman reported on new NHL trade rumors, saying San Jose’s Tomas Hertl and Dallas’ John Klingberg appear to be off the board and out of the game.

–Friedman added that with Colorado Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog having knee surgery on Monday and Sam Girard missing at least a month, this could be a big player come the March 21 deadline.

–Arizona Coyotes Jakob Chychrun is a top trade target, but he left Saturday’s game with Boston with a lower-body injury and returned to Arizona for an MRI.

– The Minnesota Wild retired its first number Sunday night as Mikko Koivu’s No. 9 climbed the rafters at the Xcel Energy Center.

— Is the price going up for Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux?

— The Panthers are also battling Carolina for the top spot in the Eastern Conference — and the Pittsburgh Penguins gave the Cats a solid Sunday.

— Why have the New York Islanders been playing better lately?

– Teams will likely return to take a look at Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, as their selling price could go up.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON THE BRIDGE

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS

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