Sabres blow early lead, fall to Panthers

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It looked as if Buffalo were finally going to get the better of Roberto Luongo, but a brutal second period was a huge reason they ended up falling to the Florida Panthers on Saturday evening by a 5-3 score.

The Sabres were heavily outshot by a 19-4 margin in the second period alone, and they struggled to control any play from there on out. The Panthers finished the game with 47 shots compared to Buffalo’s three.

Torrey Mitchell tied the game with seven minutes remaining in regulation, scoring his third goal in two games after going 29 games without a goal earlier this year.

The tie game was short lived, as Scottie Upshall ripped one off the post and in to regain the lead.

Luongo came into the game with a 13-6 record against the Sabres, along with a 1.75 goals against and a .943 save percentage.

Cody Hodgson started the scoring early and now has three points in as many games, registering a two goals and an assist. 

Andrej Meszaros skated in and took advantage of the lackadaisical Panthers’ defense and took a shot that looked to get by Luongo with ease.

With an abbreviated six second 5-on-3 power play, the Panthers used a faceoff win to score. Brandon Pirri rocketed a one-time past Michal Neuvirth to get his team on the board, and still have the man advantage.

Pirri wasn’t done there. On that same power play, he added another one, knotting the game at one with 6:36 to go in the second. 

“Our discipline wasn’t there, too many penalties,” said Sabres head coach Ted Nolan. “Michal (Neuvirth) been playing great for us, Michal been stopping a few he shouldn’t for quite some time now.”

Nick Bjugstad tallied his 22nd goal of the season as the Panthers continued to apply pressure. 

Jaromir Jagr made his debut with the Florida Panthers and received a roar from the small crowd as he was announced in the starting lineup.

Jagr is the all-time career points leader against the Sabres with 98 points in 83 games. 

The Rochester Americans announced that Mark Pysyk has been released from Strong Memorial hospital in Rochester after collapsing earlier today.

The Sabres will continue their five game road trip when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. That will be the first game after the trade deadline and puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. That game can be seen on NBC Sports Network.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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