February 2, 2018 / 3:04 AM / in 4 months

Panthers jump on Sabres early, hold on for 4-2 win

EditorsNote: updates Johnson’s save total in fifth graf

Keith Yandle had a goal and a two assists as the Florida Panthers defeated the host Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Thursday night.

Mike Matheson, Denis Malgin and Colton Sceviour also scored for the Panthers, who got 30 saves from goalie Harri Sateri. Before Tuesday, Sateri had never won an NHL game. Now, the 28-year-old has won two in a row for a 2-3-0 record.

The Panthers got two power-play goals in a game for the first time in two months. They scored three first-period goals, tying a season best.

Buffalo got a power-play goal from Ryan O’Reilly and a short-handed score from Zemgus Girgensons.

Sabres backup goalie Chad Johnson (28 saves) took the loss and is 2-9-3 this season.

Buffalo All-Star Jack Eichel did not score a goal. The Panthers are one of five teams Eichel has yet to score against in his three years in the NHL.

Panthers All-Star Aleksander Barkov, playing career game No. 300, had no goals but one assist.

Sabres center Jacob Josefson (lower-body injury) returned after missing seven games during his third stint on the disabled list this season. Buffalo defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who sustained a concussion on Jan. 22, remains out.

The Panthers’ top two goalies, Roberto Luongo and James Reimer, are set to begin practicing next week. Both are recovering from right-leg injuries.

Buffalo opened the scoring with O’Reilly’s power-play goal with 12:58 left in the first period. After Jared McCann was called for tripping Eichel, the Sabres went to work. Kyle Okposo centered the puck to Sam Reinhart, whose back-pass found O’Reilly in the slot.

Four minutes later, Florida tied the score on Yandle’s one-timer from the right circle as the Panthers took advantage of a five-on-three power play. Barkov’s assist ended a four-game points drought.

With 5:31 left in the first, Florida’s Nick Bjugstad won a faceoff and got the puck behind him to Matheson, whose wrist shot through traffic beat Johnson for a 2-1 Panthers lead.

Florida took a 3-1 lead with 1:49 left in the first. Malgin darted horizontally to the front of the net, taking a pass from Yandle and beating Johnson with a backhander.

In first periods this season, Buffalo has been outscored 48-23.

Buffalo got off to a great start in the second, scoring just 32 seconds into the period. Playing on its penalty kill, Buffalo’s Johan Larsson made a centering pass from behind the Panthers goal, and Girgensons scored on a wrist shot from the deep slot.

The Sabres had a great chance to tie the score later in the second period, possessing the puck for four minutes, including half that time on a power play.

However, the Panthers held them off, and Sceviour gave Florida insurance, providing a goal with 2:24 left in the third.

—Field Level Media

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