After starting the road trip on a sour note on Sunday to the Devils, the Sabres fell to the Florida Panthers at the BT&T Center tonight, 4-2.
For the fourth and final time this season, the divisional foes squared off, with the Panthers having won two of the previous three matchups on the year. Despite a strong start, the Sabres allowed four goals in the final period, including Aleksander Barkov’s game-winner.
Linus Ullmark earned the nod in net and played strongly until the third, but still made 37 saves as the Panthers outshot the Sabres, 41-34.
The second period saw the Sabres break the stalemate with a power-play goal from Jack Eichel, his 19th of the year to give Buffalo their first lead of the night. It would be the lone goal for both teams after 40 minutes of play.
Only a few minutes into the third, Jonathan Huberdeau notched his 14th goal of the year after being left alone with all five Sabres on the opposite side of the ice, giving him a 1-on-0 with Ullmark.
Just under a minute later, Jayce Hawryluk scored his fourth of the season after redirecting a shot from Vincent Trocheck that hit the post. Although there was a review as to whether he directed the shot in, the goal stood and Florida got their first lead of the game.
The scoring onslaught by the Panthers continued with Barkov’s 23rd goal and further widened their lead, and three goals were scored by the Panthers in 2:35. After a long period of Florida dominating the Sabres, Eichel notched his second of the night, until a coach’s challenge overturned it due to the play being offsides.
“I think at the time, I’m trying to make a play, it’s pretty close, it’s tough, I think I had half-possession, maybe it’s a turning point, maybe it’s not.”- Jack Eichel
With three minutes left, Huberdeau scored his second of the night, and despite a late goal from Vladimir Sobotka, sealed the deal for Florida. This loss was their third straight after previous losses to the Rangers and Devils, who currently sit behind the Sabres in the standings.
“Nobody feels sorry for us…we are the only ones to get us out of this.”- Jake McCabe
The Sabres, after failing to earn a point in their last three games, head into a difficult portion of the schedule, which begins Thursday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay to take on the red-hot Lightning, who have 96 points in 61 games. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.