The Florida Panthers had one goal coming into Tuesday night’s road game, break their away game losing streak — and that they did.
The Sabres started off strong with Jeff Skinner scoring off a pass from Captain Jack Eichel at 3:48 in first period. The goal was his 25th of the season, surpassing his total from last season. Sam Reinhart recorded his 100th career assist on the opening goal.
It would be a while until the Panthers caught up — over a whole period to be exact. Troy Brouwer figured out Buffalo’s Carter Hutton tying the game at one at 9:17 of the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen shortly put the Sabres back ahead, 2-1, at 11:08 when he skated down the right wing and scored short side, securing their lead for the rest of the second period.
The third period is where it got ugly. Aleksander Barkov scored 58 seconds into the third period on the power play to tie the game at two on the power play. Evgenii Dadonov then made it 3-2 on a penalty shot at 3:30, and Frank Vatrano capitalized on a rebound extending the lead to 4-2 a little over a minute later. The Sabres lost momentum for the rest of the period. Dadonov scored his second of the game, an empty netter, at 17:30 to secure his team’s victory.
“I’ll give Florida credit,” Sabres head coach Phil Housley said following the game. “They kept the game simple. It really drew a lot of energy for us in our defensive zone. And we had opportunities to close it out, and it didn’t happen.”
Roberto Luongo made 30 saves as the Panthers won their second straight, improving to 13-13-6. This is Florida’s seventh straight victory over the Sabres. Hutton made 30 saves and after winning eight games in a row, has now lost four out of his past five games in net.
Jason Pominville did not return after an accidental collision with teammate Ristolainen — as of Tuesday night, there is no update on his condition.
The Sabres have a short break, with their next game being Friday against the Washington Capitals, once again, in the nation’s capital. When the two teams met last weekend, the Sabres fell to the Caps in a shootout, 4-3.