Sabres outlast Panthers in first shootout of season, 3-2

October 11, 2019 - 7:14 pm
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The Buffalo Sabres' point streak reached five games to start the 2019-20 season, as they staved off a late attack from the Florida Panthers to win in a shootout, 3-2. Johan Larsson and Marco Scandella supplied the regulation goal-scoring for the blue and gold; Kyle Okposo picked up a pair of assists, and Linus Ullmark made 40 saves on 42 shots throughout regulation and an overtime period.

There were no goals to be found in the first 20 minutes of play in downtown Buffalo. Goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Sergei Bobrosvky put in respective clinics in their creases; making some highlight saves on the few high-danger chances of the period. One of the best scoring chances of the opening stanza was via Casey Mittelstadt, who was sprung for a breakaway by young defenseman Henri Jokiharju. Bobrovsky stoned Mittelstadt on his chance all alone, as Casey opted for a backhand shot that was shooed away by the two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

The second period of action was filled with more stellar goaltending from Ullmark and Bobrovsky, until the final moments of the frame. The Sabres generated better scoring chances, but Bobrovsky remained unwaivered for the Panthers. The likes of Jeff Skinner, Marco Scandella and more were left shaking their heads as goals remained difficult to come by.

Then, with 30.7 seconds left on the docket, Johan Larsson struck gold and gave Buffalo a much-deserved lead. Larsson accepted a pass from Kyle Okposo down the slot, and finally beat Bobrovsky on a 2-on-1 chance as the Sabres snatched the first goal of the night for a 1-0 lead just ahead of intermission number two.

Buffalo's lead swelled to two just over two minutes into the final period of regulation, and it was Okposo again helping a teammate cash in thanks to a crisp pass. This time, it was Marco Scandella the recipient of the feed, and the Sabre defenseman potted his first goal of the campaign to give the blue and gold a 2-0 advantage.

That multi-goal lead would last about four minutes for Buffalo, though, as Florida finally broke through against Ullmark with 6:15 gone in the frame. The netminder found himself slightly out of position in his crease, and the Panthers' Evgenii Dadonov deposited a goal past Ullmark and gave the visitors a pulse late in regulation, only trailing 2-1.

Later, the Sabres were seconds from closing out the victory in their home barn, but the Panthers had other ideas. With Bobrovsky pulled for the final minute-plus of regulation, Florida went to work in Buffalo's defensive end and found twine with 11-seconds left in the contest. Sniper Mike Hoffman buried a wrist shot above Ullmark's left shoulder and under the bar, and suddenly the game was even at two goals apiece with overtime looming.

Though the Sabres dominated most of the play in the extra frame, including moments where both Bobrovsky and a Panthers' defenseman were without a stick, a goal was not scored which brought on the first shootout of the season for the blue and gold.

Jack Eichel led off the shootout for the home side with a goal, and his tally was followed up with a stop on the other end by Ullmark on Florida's Vincent Trocheck.

No goals were scored in the second round, as both Sam Reinhart and Aleksander Barkov, who is a tough customer in one-on-one scenarios, were denied by Bobrovsky and Ullmark, respectively.

Casey Mittelstadt then did the honors of dropping the curtain on the Panthers with his third-round goal as the Sabres earned the shootout victory, 2-0, and the game by a final score of 3-2. The blue and gold's point streak reached five games to begin the season, and now they have a weekend off to prepare for their next opponent in the Dallas Stars on Monday afternoon.

GAME SUMMARY


Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: NONE
FLA: NONE

Second Period:

BUF: 19:29 - Johan Larsson (1) (Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons)
FLA: NONE

Third Period:

BUF: 2:02 - Marco Scandella (1) (Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons)
FLA: 6:15 - Evgenii Dadonov (2) (Jonathan Huberdeau, Denis Malgin); 19:49 - Mike Hoffman (5) (Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Huberdeau)

Overtime:

BUF: NONE
FLA: NONE

Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: NONE
FLA: 10:00 - Keith Yandle (Tripping - 2 min.)

Second Period:

BUF: 6:27 - Rasmus Dahlin (Slashing - 2 min.)
FLA: 6:12 - Mackenzie Weegar (Holding - 2 min.); 17:27 - Mike Hoffman (Cross-checking - 2 min.)

Third Period:

BUF: 7:26 - Rasmus Ristolainen (Slashing - 2 min.)
FLA: 3:38 - Frank Vatrano (Tripping - 2 min.)

Overtime:

BUF: NONE
FLA: NONE


Shots on Goal:

BUF: 33(13, 11, 5, 4)
FLA: 42 (11, 11, 18, 2)


Goalies:

BUF: Linus Ullmark - 40 saves
FLA: Sergei Bobrovsky - 31 saves


Power Plays:

BUF: 0 for 4
FLA: 0 for 2


Three Stars:

1.) Linus Ullmark - BUF (40 saves, win)

2.) Kyle Okposo - BUF (2 assists)

3.) Johan Larsson - BUF (goal)


What's Next:

The blue and gold have the weekend off, before wrapping up their mini three-game homestand on Monday, October 14th. Buffalo will host the Dallas Stars for a Columbus Day matinee contest at 3 p.m. The Paul William Beltz Pre-Game show kicks off at 2 p.m. on the flagship of the Buffalo Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.

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