Florida 5 – Buffalo 4 (SO)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
SUNRISE, Fla. – The Buffalo Sabres were able to generate 40 shots worth of offense on Thursday, but it was their penalty killing that ultimately did them in. The Florida Panthers scored a pair of costly power play goals, on their way to a 5-4 shootout win over the Sabres in front of an announced crowd of 17,044 at BB&T Center.
Shawn Matthias scored twice for Florida, while Mike Santorelli scored the shootout winner in the fourth round. Drew Stafford led the way for Buffalo with one goal and one assist in his return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games.
The Sabres leave Florida with one of a possible four points, after taking all six points in their previous three games against Montreal and Toronto. Buffalo’s overall record drops to 13-16-5 (31 pts.), and they will now prepare for back-to-back weekend home games versus Washington and Florida.
After Matthias had given the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period, Tomas Fleischman scored just 43 seconds into the second on the power play to put Florida up by a pair. The goal was scored while Ville Leino was in the box serving an unsportsmanlike conduct he took at 19:20 of the first for making comments to a referee. That would turn out to be Leino’s final shift of the night, with interim head coach Ron Rolston benching the winger for the remainder of the game. Leino finished the night with 5:28 of ice time in just six shifts.
The Sabres rallied with three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Nathan Gerbe’s shot from the right boards got Buffalo on the board at 1:36. Then it was Andrej Sekera’s turn to find the back of the net with a 57-foot slapshot at 14:56. In the final minute of play, Christian Ehrhoff flipped a wrist shot towards the net, and Drew Stafford got a piece of it in front for his fifth of the season at 19:04.
Matthias would score his second of the night at 5:23 of the third on a rebound to tie the score at 3-3. Buffalo regained the lead at 11:33 when Marcus Foligno tipped Jordan Leopold’s point shot to make the score 4-3.
But with Steve Ott off for tripping, it would take the Florida power play just 74 seconds to bring the game back even. Peter Mueller found Jonathan Huberdeau in front, and the rookie used his soft hands to redirect the pass behind Miller to tie the game.
Florida finished the night two-for-five on the power play, while Buffalo could only generate one goal in four man advantage situations. The Sabres have now given up at least one power play goal in 10 of their last 12 games.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Andrej Sekera scored his first goal in 16 games, with the last coming on January 29 vs. Toronto… Steve Ott played in his 600th NHL game joining Robyn Regehr, Jochen Hecht and Jordan Leopold as the fourth current Sabres player to play 600 NHL games… The Sabres have had 13 of their last 15 games decided by one goal. Buffalo is 6-3-4 in those 13 games and 9-8-5 in their 22 one-goal games this season… Buffalo drops to 4-3 in the shootout this year, and 47-40 all-time… This was the first game Buffalo has played all season where the shots on goal were even… 75th game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo leads the series with a 43-26-6 record. Buffalo is 19-15-3 on the road against the Panthers all-time.
Thomas Vanek missed the game with an upper body injury… Andrej Sekera returned to the lineup after missing five games with an upper body injury… Mark Pysyk and Brian Flynn were Buffalo’s healthy scratches.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 24:20
Shots: Cody Hodgson/ Christian Ehrhoff, 6
Blocked Shots: Jordan Leopold, 3
Hits: Weber/Hodgson/Stafford, 3
Faceoff Wins: Tyler Ennis, 10
Total Faceoffs: Ennis (10-6)/Hodgson (4-12), 16
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scores First: 4-12-2
Trailing after the first period: 1-8-1
Leading after the second period: 5-0-3
Shots are even: 0-0-1
Overall: 16/124, 12.9%
Road: 8/67, 11.9%
Overall: 104/135, 77.0%
Road: 70/89, 78.7%
* Saturday vs. Washington, 7 p.m.
* Sunday vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.
* Tuesday @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.