January 4, 2020 / 8:52 PM / 19 days ago

Sabres stymie Panthers for third time this season

Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist, and goaltender Linus Ullmark earned his second straight win, leading the host Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Jan 4, 2020; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) walks to the ice prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres are 3-0 against the Panthers this season, with two of those wins coming in regulation.

Buffalo also got goals from Henri Jokiharju and Conor Sheary. Sabres star Jack Eichel, who leads the team with 55 points, added one assist.

Ullmark made 32 saves, and one of his best stops came on a Frank Vatrano second-period breakaway.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after stopping just four of the seven shots he faced in just over 25 minutes. Rookie Chris Driedger finished the game for Florida, making 11 saves.

Florida, which went 0-for-3 on its power play, managed two late tallies, by Mike Matheson and Evgenii Dadonov. Florida’s power play entered the game ranked seventh in the league (24.0 percent).

Buffalo got the job done despite starting the day ranked 28th in penalty-kill percentage (74.0), and special teams were evident right away as the Sabres opened the scoring with 12:49 expired in the first period. The score came just 15 seconds after the Sabres killed off a Kyle Okposo penalty as Reinhart set up Jokiharju for a one-timer from the right circle.

The Panthers — who had an 11-5 advantage on first-period shots on goal — fell behind 2-0 after an odd-man rush with 1:35 gone in the second. Marcus Johansson set up the goal with his backhand pass to Sheary, who scored on another one-timer.

Buffalo took a 3-0 lead on a power-play goal with 5:42 elapsed in the second. After Eichel won a faceoff, Rasmus Dahlin faked a shot and dished to Reinhart, who banged a hard shot from the left circle that handcuffed Bobrovsky. Reinhart’s shot went in just under the crossbar, and Bobrovsky was then pulled.

Florida finally got on the board with 7:20 left in the third as Matheson took a pass from Colton Sceviour and beat Ullmark from the left circle to the short side.

With Driedger pulled for an extra attacker, Dadonov scored with 70 seconds left, but the Panthers failed to get the equalizer.

—Field Level Media

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