Florida Panthers Fall to the Buffalo Sabres in Shootout, 3-2

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 11: Linus Ullmark #35 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a save against Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers during an NHL game on October 11, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 11: Linus Ullmark #35 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a save against Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers during an NHL game on October 11, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After losing in ugly fashion to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers were back in action, ready to bounce back against the Buffalo Sabres.

Unlike their previous start last game, the Florida Panthers came out with a sense of urgency, pouring pressure down deep in the Sabres’ end.

Dryden Hunt had a chance to put the Panthers up early but sent his backhand wide through an open cage.

Moments later, there was a mad scramble in front of Linus Ullmark’s cage, where the Swedish netminder had to stop a couple of point-blank chances to keep the score tied at zero.

Shortly after, the Panthers came down on another odd-man rush that created an opportunity for Mike Hoffman right in front of goal. Hoffman released a wrister, but Ullmark snagged the shot with his glove.

The Cats would later be penalized through defenseman Keith Yandle, who tripped up Casey Mittelstadt on a rush the other way. The Panthers limited the Sabres to just two shots while down a man, killing off Yandle’s penalty successfully.

However, the Sabres picked up momentum from their power play, carrying it over throughout the remainder of the period.

Sergei Bobrovsky was tested frequently, having to stop a breakaway on Casey Mittelstadt and denying Kyle Okposo (among others) on other dangerous chances.

With both goaltenders standing tall in their respective creases, both sides would head to the locker room tied at zero after twenty minutes of play.

In the second, the Sabres got off to a jumpstart, pressuring Bobrovsky’s crease early on. Victor Olofsson redirected a point shot but was denied smoothy by the Russian netminder.

The Sabres continued attacking in numbers, but it wasn’t enough to crack Bobrovsky. As the second period progressed, so did the Panthers’ play, picking up where they left off early in the first.

They created a few chances of their own, but like Bobrovsky, Ullmark was standing tall and strong at his end to keep his side tied.

After some 4-on-4 action, with MacKenzie Weegar taking the initial penalty, while Rasmus Dahlin followed up with one of his own 14 seconds later, the Panthers managed to get things going again, creating havoc in the Sabres’ zone.

Their best chance came from Evgenii Dadonov, who got a slight touch off a cross-crease pass, which trickled its way through Ullmark but was cleared by Marco Scandella before the puck crossed the line.

It was thereafter where Hoffman took a cross-checking penalty, sending the Sabres to their third man advantage of the game. The Panthers were a matter of seconds before the penalty expired.

Just before Hoffman was able to come out of the box from serving his penalty, the Sabres broke down the ice with speed and managed to create an unexpected 2-on-1.

Johan Larsson, who was drifting away from his man, drove straight to goal after a pass was sent into his direction, proceeding to roof a shot over Bobrovsky to give Buffalo a late 1-0 lead.

Despite creating some chances and receiving some outstanding netminding, the Panthers were heading back to the dressing room down a goal after two periods of play.

To open up the third, the Sabres got on the board for a second time, thanks to Marco Scandella -who put home Okposo’s pass inside the empty cage (2-0).

From there, the Cats woke up and upped their intensity. They resumed normal play and simplified their game to the point where the Sabres started chasing them.

Their dominant play was eventually rewarded. Jonathan Huberdeau sent a stretch pass by two Sabres defensemen into the path of Evgenii Dadonov. Dadonov raced down on goal and slid a shot past Linus Ullmark to cut their deficit in half (2-1).

The Panthers created some other high-danger scoring chances shortly afterward, but they were all denied by the strong presence of Linus Ullmark.

Florida’s fortunes would end up changing in the dying moments of the hockey game. With under a minute left in regulation, the Panthers pulled their goalie and sent on the extra attacker to find an equalizer.

With 10.4 seconds remaining, the Panthers found their goal. Retaining the puck for almost a minute in the Sabres’ end, the Cats worked the Sabres to exhaustion, finding Hoffman wide open in the slot, who proceeded to wire a wrister top-shelf to level things at two apiece.

In overtime, both sides went back and forth, with both netminders holding down their forts to keep it a 2-2 hockey game. Five minutes of extra time wasn’t enough, which meant that shootout was needed to decide this outing.

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Jack Eichel stepped up with the first shot on his stick and scored in beautiful fashion to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Vincent Trocheck stepped up next but was solidly denied by Ullmark’s hot glove.

Sam Reinhart had a chance to put the Sabres up by two but was brilliantly stopped by Bobrovsky’s pad save. Captain Aleksander Barkov was given the opportunity to level the shootout at one but hit the post with a backhand shot.

That meant that Casey Mittlestadt could end the shootout with a goal on Buffalo’s third attempt. Needless to say, he came in cool and calmly and roofed a backhand shot off the crossbar and in to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers in the shootout.

As disappointing as it is to say, this game was a stinger based on the way it ended. Sergei Bobrovsky, undoubtedly, was the first star of the game (for Florida), solely based on the game-changing saves that he made to keep his side in this.

On the other hand, the Panthers didn’t play too bad and dominated certain parts and chunks of this game that could’ve otherwise gone their way. This result, though, will not sit well in any of their stomachs after losing out on the extra point – one they could’ve, and maybe should’ve had.

Next. Florida Panthers Need an Improved Mike Matheson. dark

Your Panthers are back in action tomorrow against the New York Islanders at 7 P.M. in Long Island, New York. Be prepared to see an angrier team…