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Late power play goal sinks Sabres in 3-2 loss

Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 9:49 PM ET / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow)
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The Florida Panthers scored twice in the final 3:58 to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Saturday at First Niagara Center. Jason Garrison scored the game winner on the power play with 1:43 left, one-timing a Brian Campbell pass with a slap shot from just inside the blueline that eluded Ryan Miller. The loss dropped Buffalo to 1-2-0 on their current five-game homestand.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff summed up the team’s effort with one word. 

“Unacceptable,” Ruff stated after the game. Unacceptable from a discipline standpoint, from a play standpoint. You can package that one in the unacceptable category.”

After falling behind early in the second period, Buffalo got on the board when Thomas Vanek scored his team-leading eighth of the year on the power play late in the period. They took a 2-1 lead midway through the second when Jason Pominville converted a feed from Brad Boyes.

Pominville knows the Sabres need to improve their effort on home ice.

“It just wasn’t good enough … hasn’t been good enough … has to be better. Our execution has been poor. We’ve gotta be better and we know it. We have a few days ahead of us to regroup and refocus. We know that we have to be better at home.”

6:46 - Good evening from the First Niagara Center! The Buffalo Sabres (6-3-0) look to win their second straight home game tonight when they host Brian Campbell and the Florida Panthers (5-4-0). Opening faceoff will be in the neighborhood of 7:08 p.m.
6:48 - Let’s take a look at some of the storylines heading into tonight’s game...
6:49 - ** This is the second of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season. Buffalo opened the season series with a 3-0 win last Thursday in Florida.
6:50 - ** The Sabres are 7-3 in their last 10 against Florida; and 7-3-0 at home too. Buffalo leads the all-time series 41-24-4
6:51 - ** Thomas Vanek leads the league by scoring the first goal of the game four times this season.
6:51 - ** Buffalo’s PK is 2nd in the NHL, having killed off 29/31 opposition PP’s. Florida’s PP is clicking at 24.3% (9/37), good for 5th in the league.
6:52 - ** Kris Versteeg leads Florida in scoring with 11 points, and is on a three-game point streak. Brian Campbell is fourth in the NHL with an average of 26:55 TOI/game.
6:59 - Sabres starters: Gerbe/Gaustad/Kaleta ... Ehrhoff/Sekera ... Miller
7:00 - Weber and Ennis are scratched for Buffalo.
7:01 - Florida starters: Upshall/Goc/Kopecky ... Kulikov/Weaver ... Theodore
7:01 - Ellerby & Samuelsson scratched for the Panthers.
7:08 - Just about ready for puckdrop, following Doug Allen's anthems.

7:08 - and we're underway at the FNC!
7:12 - Matt Ellis almost converts in close after the McCormick rebound is kicked away by Theodore.
7:13 - Kaleta on the ice for the Sabres now. He's not wearing the full cage that he had on in practice yesterday. Told me today that was a one-day thing.
7:14 - It smells like fresh baked muffins in the press box. I can't tell which member of the media brought their EZ Bake oven.
7:16 - South Buffalo's Tim Kennedy is in the Panthers lineup tonight. He's got 1 goal in four games so far this season.
7:18 - Boyes, Pominville, Vanek, Gerbe and Adam are each on 2-game point streaks for Buffalo
7:19 - Versteeg, Kulikov and Fleischmann are all riding 3-game point streaks.
7:20 - GOAL!
7:22 - Brad Boyes' pass from behind the net hits Matt Ellis in front and gets behind Theodore -- BUT the play is under review
7:22 - Review looking to see Ellis made a kicking motion on the play.
7:24 - The video review crew in Toronto determine that Ellis kicked the puck in, so the goal has been waved off. Very tough call on that one.
7:30 - Very low chance game so far. Just 9 total shots through the first 13 mins of action.
7:31 - Florida puts an extra guy on the ice ... and that's not allowed! They are called for Too Many Men at 13:05. Sabres on the PP
7:33 - Vanek/Boyes/Pominville start the PP for Buffalo, with Ehrhoff and Gragnani up top
7:34 - Leino/Adam/Stafford up front on the second PP unit -- Myers and Leopold on D
7:36 - Sturm hauls down Sekera just inside the Panthers blueline, and the Sabres go back on the PP.
7:40 - Miller stones Sturm who is sent in alone after his penalty had expired
7:42 - last minute of play....
7:43 - Leopold gets whistled for holding.
7:44 - We're scoreless after 1 period of play. Sabres lead 8-5 in shots. Florida will have 1:29 of PP time left when the 2nd period begins.

8:04 - The 2nd period is underway
8:04 - Buffalo kills off the Leopold penalty -- back to full strength
8:05 - Nice save by Miller, after Skille tips the point shot in front.
8:06 - Ellis does his best Jochen Hecht impersonation, nearly sneaking one past Theodore from behind the goal line.
8:07 - The Ellis/McCormick/Boyes line has been Buffalo's best trio so far tonight.
8:08 - Quick reflexes by Miller to stop Kulikov in close after he snuck in down low
8:11 - Ehrhoff appealing to the ref for a penalty after getting dumped in the corner. He's definitely got an argument on that one.
The energy level of our game wasn’t good. We were okay in the first. We were pathetic in the second. - Lindy Ruff
8:15 - 1-0 FLA: Goc steps out from behind the net, pulls a spin-o-rama move and jams a shot past Miller on the short side.
8:17 - Sabres falling into that 2nd period funk again -- just 2 shots in the first 9 minutes, and having trouble getting pucks deep on the Panthers.
8:22 - Great defensive play by Matt Ellis on Tomas Fleischmann to save a goal. Miller made the initial stop, then the puck kicked right to Fleischmann on the right side of the slot.
8:24 - 7:24 remaining in the 2nd.
8:25 - Sabres leading 18-11 on faceoffs -- Roy & Gaustad with 5 wins each.
8:29 - Florida gets called for Too Many Men on the Ice for the second time tonight. (15:28).
8:32 - Fans getting restless as the Sabres are unable to generate any shots on the PP.
8:33 - Miller flashes the left pad to stop the Panthers in tight.
8:33 - GOAL!
8:35 - Thomas Vanek steps around Brian Campbell, then uses his long reach to wrap the puck around into the open net. (18:14)
8:35 - Last minute in the 2nd period
8:35 - That's Vanek's team-leading 8th of the season.
8:37 - End of 2: Vanek's late goal evens the score at 1-1. Florida outshoots Buffalo 13-6; lead 18-14 on the night.

8:55 - The 3rd period is underway here at the FNC. Ryan Miller makes a save early, stopping Stephen Weiss in tight.
8:56 - No lie - I just watched someone fill a hot dog bun with nothing but ketchup and mustard -- sans weiner. And of course some coffee to wash it down.
9:06 - 12 mins left in the 3rd
9:08 - Leopold fires a shot from the side boards, and Roy nearly buries the rebound.
9:10 - Sabres outhitting the Panthers 18-14. Kaleta & Regehr have 5 each
9:11 - Drew Stafford has 4 of Buffalo's 18 shots. Jack Skille leads both teams with 5.
9:12 - Glass repairs here right now.
9:14 - Repairs completed - time to play some hockey. There's 10:40 left in the 3rd
9:18 - Vanek nearly splits the Panthers D with a head of steam -- but he gets hooked by Shawn Matthias. Sabres on the PP with 8:17 left.
9:19 - Good timing on the penalty - as it coincides with a TV timeout. Sabres troops get to catch their breath.
9:20 - GOAL!
9:21 - BUF 2-1: Boyes feeds Pominville from his knees, and #29 converts on the PP for his 5th goal of the season.
9:23 - Leopold gets drilled from behind by Sturm in the corner. No call on the play.
9:24 - Correction -- Sturm handed 5 mins & game for Boarding.
9:25 - it's 4-on-4 now as Stafford got a roughing penalty coming to Leopold's defense after the hit.
9:26 - Gerbe nearly puts the Sabres up by a pair when he jumps on a bad bounce inside the blueline, but he can't finish the play
9:27 - Gerbe picks up a tripping penalty, then has a 2-min unsportsmanlike call tacked on.
9:29 - FLA 2-2: With Miller trapped at the left post, Fleischmann grabs the loose puck and stuffs it in the open side.
9:31 - 2:30 left in regulation...
9:33 - FLA 3-2: Garrison one-times a Campbell feed past Miller from the point to give Florida a one-goal lead
9:33 - 1;20 left in the 3rd
9:34 - Miller pulled for extra attacker
9:35 - FINAL SCORE: Panthers win 3-2
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