Sabres blow lead, top in Panthers in shootoutReuters | Updated: 12-10-2019 07:41 IST | Created: 12-10-2019 07:34 IST
Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt scored in the game-ending shootout as the host Buffalo Sabres edged the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Friday night. Buffalo led 2-0 in the third period before Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman scored. Hoffman's goal with just 10.4 seconds left in the third period, off a Dadonov assist, forced overtime.
In the shootout for the Panthers, Vincent Trocheck was stopped by Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark, and captain Aleksander Barkov hit the near post. Ullmark made 41 saves through regulation and overtime to earn the win.
Johan Larsson and Marco Scandella scored in regulation for Buffalo, and Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons added two assists apiece for the Sabres, who are off to a hot start this season, posting nine out a possible 10 points. Eichel opened the shootout with a goal, but teammate Sam Reinhart's attempt was saved before Mittelstadt netted the winner.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves for the Panthers, who lost for the third time in four games. Bobrovsky played for 35 seconds without his stick in a wild overtime sequence, somehow keeping the Sabres from scoring. It was a big win for Ullmark, who went just 15-14-5 last season with a 3.11 goals-against average. He was 0-0-1 with a 3.96 GAA this season entering Friday.
Both teams did a good job killing penalties early in the game. However, two seconds after the Panthers killed the game's fourth penalty -- Hoffman was whistled for cross-checking Marcus Johansson -- Buffalo took a 1-0 lead. The Sabres, with their fourth line on the ice, worked a two-on-one breakaway, and Okposo's pass resulted in Larsson's first goal of the season with 31 seconds left in the second period.
Scandella gave the Sabres a 2-0 lead with 2:02 expired in the third period. On a Sabres breakout, Girgensons dropped the puck behind him to Okposo, whose cross-ice feed gave Scandella all of the left side of the net to work with, and the defenseman did not miss. Just over four minutes later, the Panthers finally got on the board as Dadonov scored on a breakaway that was set up by Jonathan Huberdeau's lead pass.
Hoffman's fifth goal of the season tied the score 2-2 as he waited and waited until he found an opening on the short side, putting the puck over Ullmark's left shoulder.