Sabres vs. Panthers recap: Luongo continues Sabres dominance with shutout
Buffalo wasn't able to erase the goose egg, losing a third straight time.
The last time the Sabres played at home it was one of the most exciting games of the season, featuring a thrilling comeback and a shootout victory. Tonight was the flip side of the coin, one of the most forgettable, as the Sabres fell to the Panthers 2-0.
Former Sabre Brad Boyes, who always seems to be at his best against his former team, started off the scoring just three minutes in. Tyson Stachan fanned on a clear twice behind the net, and the Panthers pounced on the opportunity. Bergenheim and Barkov buzzed around the net before the puck finally made it to Boyes stick. Michal Neuvirth had no chance, and Boyes fired it into the open net.
Nick Bjugstad doubled the score half way through the first on the powerplay. Jimmy Hayes flew past Cody McCormick to receive a through pass, shooting the puck right off the bottom of Neuvirth's left pad. Unfortunately the puck was kicked out right to Bjugstad. It certainly wasn't the most challenging goal of the year for the Panthers leading scorer.
After that, there wasn't much. The Sabres were heavily outshot in the first, 19 to 7, a period Ted Nolan described as "god awful." After that the Sabres started catching up, and finished only three shots below Florida. However, you could probably count the amount of solid opportunities the Sabres got on Roberto Luongo on one hand.
Luongo continued his dominance against the Sabres, recording his fourth shutout in his last five games against the team. He had 30 saves in the victory.
Fans broke out into the wave in the third period, despite being down two goals, thanks largely to the fact that the two teams had combined for four shots in the first ten minutes of the frame. It was that kind of game for Buffalo.
The Sabres were out of the locker room fast tonight, as they have to catch a flight to New York for tomorrow's game against the Rangers.
1. How will the mixed up lines look?
Mikhail Grigorenko and Johan Larsson each got a better look tonight, serving as the second and third centers. However, neither were much of a factor in the game. Grigorenko had a few opportunities in the late man-up and goalie pulled rally, but for the most part was rather invisible. Grigorenko got 17 minutes of ice-time, but Larsson ended up only playing more than Patrick Kaleta.
2. Will Michal Neuvirth be able to reverse his poor luck?
His team couldn't help him out, but Neuvirth had a pretty nice night. After giving up four and five in his last two games, two is a move in the right direction. He didn't have much of a chance on either, and made some big saves that stopped this game from being even more lopsided.
3. Will Rasmus Ristolainen look entirely healed from his illness?
Ristolainen ended up playing 19 minutes, so he didn't skip much of a beat when it came to playing time. Like most of the other Sabres tonight, he didn't do much to knock your socks off.