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Game Recap

Sabres knock off Panthers

Skinner’s two goals assist Buffalo in win over Florida

The Sabres snapped a three-game losing streak with a strong, gritty effort at KeyBank Center on Thursday night in a 4-3 win. Jeff Skinner paved the way with a two-goal night and dominating play.

The Sabres came out motivated, peppering Roberto Luongo early and often. Buffalo got on the board first with a gorgeous goal by Skinner, who deked through the Panthers defense in the middle and got a wrist shot by the left side of Luongo.

Tage Thompson added another Sabres goal less than four minutes later on a partial break up the right side where he got a good shot by Luongo while shaking off the defense. 

Buffalo had a noticeable physical presence compared to the previous few games and played like a team that knew it needed a win to gain some breathing room in the standings.

Buffalo’s penalty kill was superb for the most part, especially in the second period when the game was tight.

Linus Ullmark made some timely saves and had a great clear on the penalty kill to keep the game at 2-0. Unfortunately, the Panthers got on the board over halfway into the second period on a controversial 2-on-1 play where Keith Yandle  interfered with Rasmus Dahlin when he tried to re-enter the play.

Sam Reinhart gave the Sabres some breathing room just 1:42 into the third period on a deflection from the point shot by Lawrence Pilut to put the Sabres up, 3-1.

The game got progressively chippy throughout, and by the third period, both sides were taking liberties against each other. Buffalo had a two-man advantage thanks to a bad trip by former Sabre Mark Pysyk, followed by a heavy slash from Aaron Ekblad on Skinner. Even though the Sabres didn’t score they matched Florida’s physicality to preserve the lead.

The Sabres regained a two-goal lead on a great break by Skinner, who snuck a shot by Luongo.

From there, Buffalo weathered the Panthers out for remaining minutes to win, 4-3, despite a late Panthers goal by Aleksander Barkov.

Buffalo’s win keeps them tied with the Boston Bruins for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, giving them 50 points in 41 games. The Sabres faceoff against the Bruins with an opportunity to swap places in the standings tthis Saturday at 7 p.m. in Boston.

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
P7558-13-4120
7445-20-999
7444-25-593
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
7443-23-894
7442-25-791
7540-24-1191
Wild Card leaders:
7340-26-787
7439-28-785
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7440-30-484
7436-30-880
7433-29-1278
7331-33-971
7328-32-1369
7527-39-963
7426-38-1062
7425-43-656
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
7444-26-492
7542-27-690
7439-27-886
Pacific Division Leaders:
X7446-21-799
X7443-23-894
7442-27-589
Wild Card leaders:
7438-30-682
7433-29-1278
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7436-32-678
7434-31-977
7332-31-1074
7432-32-1074
7433-34-773
7530-36-969
7326-39-860