Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres looked to snap their three-game losing streak against the Florida Panthers. After another three-goal game by the Sabres, it was not enough as the Panthers prevail, 4-3.
Buffalo go on the board early in the first period after the Panthers gave the Sabres a power play. Drew Stafford netted his sixth of the season after Steve Ott made a great effort to help Linus Omark keep a puck in the offensive zone. Jesse Winchester tied the game about two minutes later on a deflection that beat Ryan Miller. Drew Stafford was able to score his second goal of the game 2:10 later following a big hit from Mike Weber. Buffalo would hold the lead until the 18:04 mark of the first when Sean Bergenheim deflected a shot past Ryan Miller to tie the game. Just 52-seconds later, Ed Jovanovski put a slapshot past Miller to give Florida a 3-2 lead heading into the break. Florida ended up outshooting the Sabres in the period, 12-10.
The second period was not a good period for Buffalo. Buffalo did outshoot the Panthers 9-6, but both teams played very flat-footed and slow. Nick Bjugstad gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead with 3:48 left in the second period as he put his shot top shelf on Ryan Miller.
Buffalo was able to make it a one-goal game with another power play goal. Steve Ott was able to put home a loose puck and score his 100th career NHL goal.
“Anytime you get an individual milestone in a team game, it’s exciting,” said Ott on his career achievement. “If I was a kid, and you asked me if I ever scored 100 goals in the NHL, I would’ve taken it and been pretty proud.”
Florida gave Buffalo a big chance late with a Brad Boyes four-minute double minor penalty for high sticking. Buffalo was unable to convert, and the Sabres eventually went on to lose by the final of 4-3. Buffalo did outshoot Florida in the period 16-4, but they were only able to put one of those shots into the net.
“We didn’t play consistent enough,” said Ted Nolan following the loss. “You give good shooters position to shoot, they’re gonna be in good position to score, in which they did. Our gap control wasn’t very good. Our lanes weren’t very good, but those are the type of things we have to continue to work on and try to correct.”
Since returning to the lineup from injury, Drew Stafford has been playing well on a line with Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis. In addition to his two goals tonight, Stafford also added an assist, had a team-high five shots, and won four out of five faceoffs taken. However, he knows this team needs to do more to play a better overall game.
“We need to really start going back to the drawing board, there’s nothing much else to say,” Stafford said. “We need to clean a few things up, and make sure that if we do come out to a good start, we’re finally getting some goals and we need to bear down in our own end and take care of that first. It should lead to more offense.”
Even with the Sabres scoring 12 goals in four games, Sabres captain, Steve Ott, knows that the team’s play has to be better.
“Our game, as a whole, wasn’t good enough tonight,” Ott said. “It doesn’t matter how many goals you score sometimes. You always hope to score obviously, because our team has had struggles to score throughout the season. Our total game tonight wasn’t even close to where it needs to be to have success.”
Buffalo will now look ahead to Thursday night, as the Sabres set to play host to the Carolina Hurricanes. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7pm. Thursday’s game can be seen on MSG Network.