Sabres squeeze by Panthers in overtime

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The Buffalo Sabres looked like they were ready to collapse back into bad habits, after allowing three unanswered goals over two periods. Fortunately, that would not be the case tonight.

A Brian Gionta goal to tie things, and a Nikita Zadorov overtime goal would ensure Buffalo got themselves two points. At the drop of the opening faceoff, the Buffalo Sabres took off and took advantage of Florida playing less than 24 hours ago.

The Sabres came out quick, scoring just 2:06 into the first period.

Cody Hodgson’s 2nd goal of the season came on his first shift after returning from being a healthy scratch last game. Hodgson’s goal was assisted by Patrick Kaleta, who recorded his first assist since March 7, 2012.

As the period went on, the Sabres continued their pressure on the Panthers.

At 13:05, a Marcus Foligno shot would bounce off Al Montoya and through his five hole. This goal, Foligno’s 4th of the year, put Buffalo up 2-0.

Coming out of the locker room for the second period, things would be a lot different.

Florida came onto the ice with their foot planted on the gas pedal. Sean Bergenheim would get the Panthers on the board, at 1:08, and cut the Sabres lead in half.

Less than three minutes later, Florida would score the equalizer. A pass off the stick of Sean Bergenheim would bounce directly off the skates of Nikita Zadorov, and passed Enroth. 

Things would calm down for the remainder of the second period for both sides. Entering the third period, things were wide open. Florida would not hesitate in their attempt to take over the momentum though.

Just 57 seconds into the third frame, Jussi Jokinen would put home his 3rd goal of the season. This was Florida’s third straight unanswered goal.

While the tide was clearly shifted in the favor of Florida, Buffalo was able to come back. Tyler Myers found himself deep in his own zone, with Brian Gionta streaking up the ice.

Gionta received the puck on a mini-breakaway. An absolute laser shot beat Montoya, and things were tied up again.

As this game headed to overtime, things were completely in the air. Just 29 seconds into the extra frame, a perfect pass from Tyler Ennis to Nikita Zadorov would prove to be the difference. Zadorov put the puck up on the top shelf, over Montoya. Zadorov’s first goal of the season would seal up the victory.

With this victory, the Sabres have won 9 of their last 12 games. According to the Buffalo Sabres, this is the first time since February 19 – March 12, 2012 that the team has accomplished that feat.

The Sabres take the ice again Monday night against the Ottawa Senators. Puck drops just shortly after 7 PM, and the game will be broadcast on MSG.

Ryan Wolfe
Ryan Wolfe
Administrator/Writer at Sabres Hockey Central.
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