Thursday’s night game saw the Buffalo Sabres fall by a 4-2 score to the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center.
This one got more exciting as it went on as both teams had a higher than normal amount of physical play, including a pair of big hits by Rasmus Ristolainen.
Buffalo surrendered three goals in the first, which ultimately cost them the game. They fell behind early and were never able to come back despite some tremendous shifts.
One of those shifts came during a power play, in which the Sabres maintained offensive zone possession for over two straight minutes and the better part of four.
Panthers’ shifts during rally: Colton Sceviour 3:34; Mark Pysyk and Mike Matheson 3:25 each; Derek MacKenzie 2:33
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) February 2, 2018
Toward the end of the game, things got interesting. Evander Kane was called for a five-minute major penalty on a questionable call:
Evander Kane hit on Barkov: pic.twitter.com/2auRKzjAwg
— Cats On The Prowl (@Cats0ntheprowl) February 2, 2018
“I was shocked. I don’t know which one of our D-men hit him, but I was skating back in the zone – coasting – and the guy just went down and I fell over top of him.” – Kane
Sabres head coach Phil Housley noticed a different team from the 1st period compared to the 2nd & 3rd. “It was good to see emotion.” He stated, “I thought we played with more emotion in the 2nd & 3rd. We need to start like that..”
The Buffalo goals came from Ryan O’Reilly and Zemgus Girgensons. O’Reilly connected on the power play for his 14th of the year.
While shorthanded, a great play on the forecheck by Johan Larsson to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone helped Girgensons get a goal.
Both teams would give way to backup netminders. Chad Johnson tried to build off an impressive performance after his last outing in Calgary, while Jarri Sateri got his fifth start of the season.
After some consistent offensive pressure, Johnson allowed a late goal that he would probably like to have back. It was deflating and killed any chance the Sabres had at climbing back into the game.
The Sabres will remain home to take on the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night as they continue their five-game homestand. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop.