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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:
P8262-16-4128
X8249-24-9107
X8246-28-8100
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8248-26-8104
X8248-27-7103
X8244-26-12100
Wild Card leaders:
X8246-29-799
X8247-31-498
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8244-30-896
8236-32-1486
8237-37-882
8232-36-1478
8233-39-1076
8232-40-1074
8231-41-1072
8229-47-664
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
Y8247-29-6100
X8247-30-599
X8245-28-999
Pacific Division Leaders:
Z8250-25-7107
X8246-27-9101
X8243-32-793
Wild Card leaders:
X8243-32-793
X8238-30-1490
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8239-35-886
8236-34-1284
8237-36-983
8235-36-1181
8235-37-1080
8235-38-979
8231-42-971