The snow was falling Friday afternoon in Buffalo, but so were the Sabres’ forwards. An already depleted Sabres lineup lost Corey Tropp and Jochen Hecht during the 2-1 overtime win against Florida.
Paul Szczechura fed Jason Pominville a breakaway pass and the Sabres captain ended the game with his 10th goal of the season.
There was not much scoring, but the Sabres found a way to beat the Panthers, who sit in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
The Sabres got on the board late in the opening period. After breaking his stick in the defensive zone, Brayden McNabb didn’t quit on the play. He kicked the puck up to Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford on the wing, who set Derek Roy up on a breakaway.
Roy buried his shot after Clemmensen got a piece of it, putting the Sabres up 1-0.
The Sabres had three power play opportunities in the first period, but failed to capitalize with the man advantage.
Two Sabres penalties in 10 seconds put Buffalo down a pair of players, and Florida didn’t waste time with the man advantage. Just 14 seconds with the two-man advantage, Jason Garrison ripped home his ninth goal of the year to tie the game at one. Garrison leads the league for goals by a defenseman.
“When it’s a tie game on the road after two periods, you know you’re sitting pretty good,” Theodore said, after Florida’s 2-0 win over Boston on Thursday.
Well, the visiting Panthers were in a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes of play, but they didn’t leave the First Niagara Center with a win. They did manage to get a point on the road, but the Sabres earned a much needed home-ice win.
With Szczechura’s overtime assists, the Sabres now have 37 points scored by rookies, which was the most in the NHL heading into the late night games.. Edmonton came into the night with 36 points by rookies, but 30 of them are because of Ryan-Nugent Hopkins.
Corey Tropp left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. He took a hit from Dmitry Kulikov and was bleeding from the mouth. Jochen Hecht also left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return after he blocked a shot in the third period.
The Sabres will stay home and host the Rangers Saturday night as the 3rd of the five game homestand.