Florida 4 – Buffalo 3
Sunday, February 3, 2013
First Niagara Centre
The Buffalo Sabres got off to strong start thanks to their red-hot top line but failed to hold the lead, surrendering three unanswered goals as the Florida Panthers came from behind to earn the 4-3 win during a Sunday matinee at First Niagara Center. With the loss, Buffalo falls to 3-5-1 overall and 1-2-1 at home this season.
Thomas Vanek with linemates Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville continued their torrid start to the young season, with Vanek scoring off a between-the-legs pass from Pominville 2:46 in to give the Sabres the early lead. Florida would tie the game moments later, but Hodgson’s fifth goal of the season on an assist from Vanek put the Sabres ahead again to end the first period.
Vanek and Hodgson each collected their second assists on an Alexander Sulzer goal to make it 3-1 at 16:11 in the second, but the Panthers added two more goals in the period to come back and knot things up again before former Sabre Brian Campbell put Florida on top for good with a power-play goal midway through the final frame. Vanek and Hodgson each had a goal and two assists and Ryan Miller made 29 saves in his sixth straight start. The Sabres were outshot for the third straight game, 33-20.
T.J. Brennan played in his second game this season in place of Andrej Sekera, who was inactive due to an injury sustained in the first period of Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Montreal … Patrick Kaleta missed his third straight game with a neck injury … Matt Ellis was Buffalo’s only healthy scratch after playing four straight games … Nathan Gerbe returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday … Robyn Regehr (lower body, 3 games) and Ville Leino (hip, 9 games) remained on the IR.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
The last time the Sabres had a two-goal lead and lost was April 7, 2012, against Boston … Buffalo has lost three straight home games for the first time since going 0-2-1 from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, 2012 … Thomas Vanek has scored at least one point in each of the eight games he has appeared in this season with four multi-point efforts … Their first-period score marked the 10th time this season Vanek and Jason Pominville have each recorded a point on the same goal … Pominville tied Mike Foligno for 10th-most assists (264) in franchise history and Alexander Mogilny at 12th all-time in points (444) with the team … Cody Hodgson played in his 100th career NHL game; he has 12 career multi-point games after today’s three-point effort, matching his career high … Buffalo falls to 1-2 on Sunday afternoon games this season … The Sabres allowed two more second-period goals, increasing their season total to a league-worst 17 allowed in the middle frame … Alexander Sulzer has two goals in three games and is one away from his career high of three… Marcus Foligno had his four-game point streak (1+4) come to an end despite a season-high 21:46 of ice time ... Today’s game wrapped up Buffalo’s third of nine sets of back-to-back games this season after the team had a league-high 21 sets last season … Cody McCormick’s first-period fight against Tyson Strachan was his first since returning from an injury to start the season… It was the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season; 73rd all-time … Buffalo is 42-26-5 against Florida; 24-11-3 at home.
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring first: 3-3
Leading after the first period: 1-1
Tied after the second period: 2-2
Outshot by opposition: 2-5
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS:
Time on ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 23:21
Shots: Jochen Hecht/Ehrhoff, 3
Blocked shots: Tyler Myers, 3
Faceoff wins: Cody Hodgson, 9
Total faceoffs: Hodgson, 21 (9-12)
The game’s deciding goal came on a Florida power play at 10:33 to play in the third period. After Christian Ehrhoff went off for hooking, former Sabre Brian Campbell gave the Panthers the lead on a shot from 20 feet out. Buffalo killed off one of two Florida power plays and is executing at a 79.5 percent (31 of 39) clip on the season. The first minor penalty of the game was not called until 13:20 remaining in the second period. The Sabres generated just one shot on their only power play chance of the game, dropping to 18.8 percent (6 of 32) on the season.
Tuesday @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.
Saturday @ New York Islanders, 7 p.m.