Florida took the lead early 1:25 into the game. The Sabres lost a defensive zone draw and with Kyle Okposo overplaying his man. Mike Matheson is able to skate into the slot and beat Robin Lehner high blocker.
Four minutes later Sam Reinhart continued his hot streak by tying the game. Victor Antipin lets a quick point shot go that was deflected and ended up on the stick of O’Reilly. He made a nice backhand pass to Reinhart for the tap in to bring the score even.
The Sabres continued to struggle with defensive zone coverage in the period. Evgenii Dadonov got open in the high slot but was stoned by Lehner on the opportunity.
At the end of the period, the Panthers would get their lead back. Again poor coverage on a defensive zone faceoff cost the Sabres. Benoit Pouliot chases the puck and allows his man Aaron Ekblad to sneak in front the point to score his 13th of the season.
The Panthers held a 2-1 lead after one.
The second period wasn’t a pretty one for the Sabres. Aleksander Barkov had a great look on Lehner, but for some reason tried a drop pass that didn’t work. A few minutes later he got another chance and made no mistake this time. He chipped the puck over the shoulder of the Sabres goaltender to make it 3-1.
Florida put the game away in the middle of the period. James Reimer made a nice pad save on Jacob Josefson at one end. The Panthers came down on a rush after the save. Lehner kicked a big rebound out to Colton Sceviour and he made it 4-1 in favor of the home team.
The Panthers were close to making it 5-1, but the Sabres were saved by the horn. Dadonov had a puck alone in front with Lehner down, but the time ran out before he could get a shot off. Sabres trailed 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Nothing of significance took place in the final 20 minutes until the last minute of the game. Bad blood from the aforementioned game in the beginning of February popped up again. The two clubs engaged in a big scrum.
After those festivities the Panthers earned their third win over the Sabres this season.
Final Score: Panthers 4, Sabres 1
Shots on Goal: Panthers 30 | Sabres 25
Sabres Goal Scorers: Reinhart (15)
Panthers Goal Scorers: Matheson (9), Ekblad (13), Barkov (24) and Sceviour (8)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Aleksander Barkov (1 G)
2. Evgenii Dadonov (2 A)
3. Aaron Ekblad (1 G, GWG)
Comment of the Game
God.... we play Toronto next..
It’s a “home” game….
I don’t want to win and don’t want to lose I’m all flummoxed.