Sabres fall to Panthers for third time


After consecutive wins over two playoff-bound teams in the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres entered Friday’s game with a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games, along with three wins in their last four.

With this being the third meeting of four between these two, and Buffalo losing the first two at home this year, a win is crucial to build momentum as well as they head strong toward the finish. That would not be the case as the Sabres fell 4-1 to the Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

Although the team struggled offensively, Sam Reinhart continued his most efficient run of the year, scoring his 15th goal halfway through the first period to tie the game.

Robin Lehner got the nod after Chad Johnson’s win over Tampa Bay earlier in the week. After giving up two goals in the opening period, he continued his recent struggles in this game, with only 26 saves on 30 shots faced in another tough outing.

Buffalo were outplayed on the physical side, being outhit, 27-14, and were not a formidable match for the Panthers throughout the game. Despite the lack of hits, Jordan Nolan was active throughout, getting in a fight late in the first and nearly a second prior to the game’s conclusion, totaling seven penalty minutes for fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct violations.

The same success and chemistry that has become a constant for the Sabres on the power play as of late did not materialize tonight, going 0-for-3 with the man advantage against Florida, which has been rare as of late. However, when it came to shots on goal in this game, the Sabres were able to keep even with the Panthers despite the score difference, with Florida finishing the game with a 30-25 edge in shots.

In many areas where the Sabres struggled mightily tonight, the Panthers thrived, scoring four goals in the game’s first 40 minutes. In what was the team’s first travel to South Florida this year, the meeting went similar to the two previous meetings at home, with the Sabres allowing four goals and unable to build momentum as the game progressed.

“[Florida] came out, they took it to us for the majority of the game, they played hard, they played desperate”- Kyle Okposo.

The Sabres have showed signs of improvements over the last few games, but they’ll have to regroup before Monday’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center, in what will be their first meeting of the year. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.



Robert Janish, Jr.
One of the most memorable Sabres games I ever attended was the line brawl against the Senators, which Buffalo won in a shootout, 6-5. I can't wait for the day when playoff hockey returns to Buffalo. I graduated with a Masters in Sport Administration, and a Bachelor's in Political Science & Communication Studies from Canisius College.
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