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Recap: Sabres Playoff Hopes Continue to Tumble in Sunrise

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Buffalo’s inability to handle lesser opponents continues to stymie their playoff chances.

TNS via Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres dying playoff chances took another big hit on Tuesday night, courtesy of a loss in Sunrise.

These Florida Panthers always seem to have the number of whatever Sabres squad they face and this time seemed no different.

Throughout the first period, the ice very much felt tilted in favor of the Panthers, despite no score after twenty.

Buffalo would turn on the jets in the second period and get themselves on the board first.

Eichel’s 19th of the season at 5:14 of the second period, from Reinhart and Skinner, put Buffalo up 1-0.

The Sabres would hold the hard-charging Panthers off the board heading into the third period but that is where things would take a turn.

Florida would come out with purpose in the final frame and run the score up on the Sabres.

In less than three minutes, a 1-0 Buffalo lead turned into a 3-1 Florida lead. How that happened is nothing short of impressive.

Jonathan Huberdeau dangled his way around Linus Ullmark for his 14th of the season to start the scoring off, which tied things at 1.

Jayce Hawryluk next found himself in the right place at the right time, when a Vincent Trocheck rebounded shot bounced off his torso and into the net. Hawryluk’s fourth goal of the season, at 3:50 of the second, gave Florida a 2-1 lead.

Not to be outdone, Aleksander Barkov joined the goal party minutes later.

Barkov somehow snuck one past Linus Ullmark, which is a shot you want your goaltender to stop 10 times out of 10.

Barkov’s 23rd of the season, at 5:42 of the second period, pushed Florida’s lead to 3-1.

The Panthers were not done there.

More than 15 minutes into the period, Huberdeau went to work again. This time, he danced around not only Jeff Skinner but Linus Ullmark as well.

Huberdeau deposited the puck into the empty net, which goes in the books as his 15th goal of the season.

Vladimir Sobotka would end his 42-game goal-less streak with eight seconds left in the game but that would not be enough.

Buffalo would go on to fall to Florida, 4-2.

Final: Florida 4, Sabres 2

Shots on Goal: Florida 41 | Sabres 34

Sabres Goal Scorers: Jack Eichel (19), Vladimir Sobotka (4)

Panthers Goal Scorers: Jonathan Huberdeau (14, 15), Jayce Hawryluk (4), Aleksander Barkov (23)

Three Stars of the Game

1. Frank Vatrano (2 assists)

2. Aleksander Barkov (1 goal, 2 assists)

3. Jonathan Huberdeau (2 goals, 1 assist)