The Florida Panthers came back from a 1-0 third period deficit against the Buffalo Sabres to tie the game and eventually win 2-1 in the shootout. Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout while Brad Boyes scored on the Panthers third attempt against Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth to seal the win.
The Panthers defense stifled the Sabres for most of the night allowing only 24 shots but the Sabres were able to get on the board at 5:13 into the second period when Jamie McBain beat Tim Thomas to stake the Sabres to a 1-0 lead. The Panthers had a golden chance late in the second when they earned a brief 5-on-3 power play but Enroth would protect his net and nothing would come of the opportunity.
The Panthers finally got on the board at 9:16 of the third period when Brad Boyes tipped in a Tom Gilbert shot for his team leading 12th goal of the season. The play started with a nice sequence of passing between Sean Bergenheim, Brian Campbell and Brad Boyes. Brian Campbell set up Bergenheim with a good look but Enroth was able to make the save. Luckily the puck bounced to Tom Gilbert who fired a shot through traffic towards the scrum in front of the net where Boyes was able to get a stick on the puck and tip it past Enroth. Gilbert (15) and Bergenheim (4) were credited with assists on the play. With 15 assists, Gilbert is now tied for the team lead in helpers with Tomas Fleischmann and Aleksander Barkov.
The Boyes goal would be the only offense either side would produce the rest of the night. The Panthers controlled most of the game outshooting Buffalo 35-24 but Enroth was again excellent against the Panthers stopping all but one. In two games against the Panthers this season, the Sabres backup has stopped 78 of 80 shots faced.
Both teams had their chances in OT but the goalies remained solid. In the shootout Tim Thomas shut the door stopping all three shots he faced. The Panthers appeared to get on the board with their second shooter when Huberdeau got a puck over the goal line but the refs ruled that Huberdeau had pushed Enroth’s pads over the goal line with his stick thus making room for the puck over the goal line. It was an iffy call but turned out not to matter when Brad Boyes scored with the Panthers third attempt to seal the win.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 17-21-6. With 40 points, they are seven behind the Maple Leafs, Rangers and Hurricanes who are all tied for the final wild card spot in the East. The Panthers will wrap up their road trip Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.