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Sabres vs. Panthers recap: Buffalo blown out and blown up in 7-4 loss

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It was a spirited affair, but the Sabres dug themselves a hole too deep to dig out of.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

If you had only watched the second and third periods of last night's Buffalo Sabres game, you would have seen one of the most entertaining 40 minutes of hockey the First Niagara Center has been treated to this year. There were eight goals - four per side - and Evander Kane fought Alex Petrovic three separate times. It was wild, it was exciting, and it was fun!

Unfortunately, that wild, exciting, fun game came after one of the worst first periods the Sabres have played all year, and after allowing three goals in the first, the Sabres would ultimately lose 7-4.

It was certainly an ugly start for the Sabres, who've struggled to match their opponent's play in the first period all season. Reilly Smith, Brian Campbell, and Jussi Jokinen all scored for Florida, and after Alex Petrovic scored just 22 seconds into the second period, Robin Lehner was pulled in favor of Chad Johnson.

I'm not always a huge believer in goalie switches being the catalyst to wake a team from their slumber, but Dan Bylsma's swap in the second certainly seemed to light a fire under the Sabres. Within two minutes after Johnson came into the game, Sam Reinhart would score his first of two power play goals and Evander Kane would get in his first of three bouts with Petrovic - all three of which he won, by the way.

The Sabres made it interesting thanks to their second period resurgence, but every time they would get within two goals, Florida would extend their lead right back. Brandon Pirri and Jaromir Jagr would score after Reinhart's power play pair to make it 6-2 and essentially put the game away.

The Sabres would get goals in the third from Evander Kane (before his game misconduct penalty) and the first goal of the season from Mike Weber, but it ultimately wasn't enough. The Sabres will get their next chance to try and fix their first period woes against Philadelphia on Thursday.

Three Questions

1. Can the Sabres find a way to contain Jaromir Jagr?

Jagr scored again tonight, giving him six points in his four games against Buffalo this season.

2. Will Marcus Foligno or Dan Catenacci play tonight?

Both, thanks to Zemgus Girgensons' injury. Foligno was one of only two Sabres players on the right side of the +/- column last night.

3. Can the Sabres earn a point in their fifth straight game for the first time since 2012?

Nope :(

Highlights

Watch here.