SUNRISE, Fla. – It was Jaromir Jagr's night. The Sabres just happened to get a point out of it.
With three assists Tuesday, Jagr tied Mark Messier for second all time on the NHL scoring list. He helped Florida tie the game late, and the Panthers downed the Sabres, 4-3, in a shootout.
Jagr has 1,887 points in 1,662 games. Messier recorded 1,887 points in 1,756 games. Wayne Gretzky is No. 1 with 2,857 points in 1,487 games.
Jagr has feasted on the Sabres during his career with 107 points in 89 games.
Making history: Jagr tied Messier - and the game - with 3:51 to play. He earned his third assist on a goal by Nick Bjustad, and the Panthers instantly recognized the achievement. As a team employee secured the milestone puck, all the Florida players stood at the bench and tapped their sticks in a long celebration.
The fans rose for a standing ovation with Jagr pictured on the scoreboard.
Busy men: The Panthers fired 39 shots at Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner. Buffalo tested Roberto Luongo with 38 shots.
Florida scored on both of its shootout attempts to drop the Sabres to 1-5 in the breakaway challenge.
Taking the lead: The Sabres scored their third straight goal with 7:41 to play. Sam Reinhart carried the puck around the back of the Florida net and spotted an open Rasmus Ristolainen. The defenseman fired through traffic to snap a 2-2 tie.
Ristolainen has reached the score sheet in eight of the past 10 games, recording three goals and 11 assists. He leads the Sabres with six multipoint games.
Back in it: After a dismal first period, the Sabres turned it up in the second to tie the game, 2-2. They outshot the Panthers, 17-11, and scored twice in a 70-second span.
On the board: The Sabres’ got their first goal the best way they know how. The NHL's fourth-ranked power play struck with 4:15 left in the second. Reinhart got a piece of Ristolainen’s point shot for his seventh goal of the season to make it 2-1.
On a roll: Evander Kane continued to torment goaltenders, tying the game with 3:05 to go in the second. Cody Franson unleashed a powerful point shot, with Brian Gionta pushing the rebound across the crease to Kane. The left winger buried the puck into an open net.
Kane has six goals in eight games and nine points in 10.
Feet in the sand: The Sabres played the opening period like their minds were still on the beach. Carolina had a 16-4 shot edge and scored the only goal.
Barkov balancing act: Aleksander Barkov opened the scoring with 3:51 left in the first, giving the Panthers a lead they deserved. After a Buffalo turnover near center ice, Jagr carried the puck into Buffalo’s zone. He fed Barkov, whose shot was stopped by Lehner.
While leaning forward with one foot on the ice, Barkov pushed a backhand toward the Buffalo net. It hit Lehner’s skate and caromed home.
Doubling the lead: The Panthers went up, 2-0, on the power play with 7:46 left in the second. With Jagr planted in front of Lehner, Keith Yandle’s point shot sailed past the goaltender. The Sabres have allowed a power-play goal in 11 of the past 16 games and entered the night last in the NHL at 73.6 percent.
Giving thanks: During a second-period commercial break, the Panthers played a Dmitry Kulikov tribute video. Fans responded with a nice ovation for the Buffalo defenseman, who spent his opening seven seasons in Florida and was a visitor for the first time.
Fisticuffs: Marcus Foligno gave Buffalo just its fifth fighting major of the season, dropping the gloves with Shawn Thornton late in the second.
Deslauriers sits: After playing in four straight games following his return from a knee injury, Nicolas Deslauriers returned to the press box as Buffalo’s healthy scratch. Derek Grant took his place and centered the fourth line with left wing William Carrier and right wing Zemgus Girgensons.
Defenseman Justin Falk sat for the second straight game.
Next: The Sabres flew home following the game and are scheduled to practice Wednesday in KeyBank Center. They’ll close the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with back-to-back games. Carolina comes to Buffalo on Thursday, and the Sabres will visit the New York Islanders on Friday.