The Wraparound: Panthers 4, Sabres 1 - The Buffalo News

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The Wraparound: Panthers 4, Sabres 1

The situation was the same as last time. There was one period left, and the game was up for grabs.

Unlike Tuesday, the Sabres couldn't take control.

Buffalo again failed to get a winning streak going, falling 4-1 to the Florida Panthers on Friday. The Sabres hoped to build off the 3-1 victory over Washington that was also tied, 1-1, but they instead lost to the only team that was behind them in the Eastern Conference.

Florida improved to 5-8-2, while the Sabres fell to 5-9-2.

Snapping a tie: The Panthers made it 2-1 with 16:10 remaining. Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner never saw the shot.

Defenseman Ian McCoshen took a shot from the left point, and it traveled through traffic and slipped betweeen Lehner and the post. McCoshen has three goals, which is three more than the Buffalo defense corps.

Sealing it: Aleksander Barkov sent the puck into an empty net with 1:32 remaining, sending the fans to the exits after they unleashed a boo.

Those who stuck around saw another empty-netter. Vincent Trocheck scored with 1:15 left.

Feel the glove: Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo drew a gasp from the crowd when he got a glove on Sam Reinhart's point-blank blast with 6:30 remaining, keeping the Sabres in a one-goal hole.

Power returns: The Sabres' power play entered the game in a 1-for-25 slump. It struck on its first opportunity.

Defenseman Victor Antipin took a waist-high shot from the right point, and Kyle Okposo reached out to redirect it past Luongo with 6:58 left in the first. Okposo's second of the season and first at home gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead.

Evander Kane earned an assist, giving him 16 points in 16 games.

Nullifying a mistake: Antipin heard someone call for the puck in Buffalo's zone, and he blindly sent it to the middle of the ice – right onto the stick of the Radim Vrbata. The Florida forward skated in alone on Lehner, but the goaltender hit the ice and reached out his right pad to stop the attempt with 3:15 left in the first.

Buffalo finished the period with a 1-0 advantage.

Earning the tie: Florida came out flying in the second period, taking eight of the first nine shots. Lehner turned aside the opening seven. The Panthers made it 1-1 on the eighth.

After yet another scrum in front of the Buffalo net, Evgenii Dadonov spotted the loose puck and found an opening with 6:52 gone. Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau earned assists, giving the trio 48 points in 15 games.

Busy period: The Panthers outshot Buffalo, 15-9, during the second. Lehner stopped 14 to send the teams into the final period in a 1-1 tie.

Lehner's top save came two minutes before Florida scored. The puck was available in the slot, and Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella tied up Dadonov's stick to prevent him from scoring. Buffalo's Benoit Pouliot came flying in and inadvertently pushed the puck toward the net, but Lehner reached out to put his stick on the goal line.

Another fight: For the second straight game, there was a fight. The Panthers' Micheal Haley high-sticked Zemgus Girgensons with 10:51 left, and Jordan Nolan went after Haley and earned a decision.

Jake McCabe stuck up for Sam Reinhart against Washington's Tom Wilson on Tuesday.

Beaulieu is back: The Sabres welcomed Nathan Beaulieu back to their blue line. He returned after missing seven games with a lower-body injury.

Beaulieu skated with Antipin. The other pairings were Marco Scandella with Justin Falk, and McCabe with Taylor Fedun. Josh Gorges was the healthy scratch on defense.

Military honors: The Sabres celebrated Veterans Day and Military Appreciation Night with a ceremonial puck drop. Korean War veterans Richard Costo, Melvin Quast and William Webb, who also fought in World War II, were honored at center ice. The trio was joined by Sabres Hall of Famers Danny Gare and Rene Robert, who accompanied the veterans on a trip to Washington on Monday.

Standing ovation: The family of fallen Buffalo Police K-9 Officer Craig Lehner attended the game, and the fans gave them a standing ovation when they were introduced during the first commercial break. Robin Lehner wore a commemorative jersey honoring Craig Lehner during warmups, and the goalie was scheduled to present it to the late officer's family after the game.

The winner is …: The Sabres are handing out a bobblehead on Fan Appreciation Night at the end of the season. The finalists were Gilbert Perreault and Dominik Hasek. Fans voted via noise during the second period, and Hasek was the winner. His bobblehead will free at the game April 4.

Counting the house: The Sabres announced 17,812 tickets sold.

Next: The Sabres complete their fourth of 16 sets of back-to-back games Saturday when they visit the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs have won three of their last four, but they're down to their No. 3 goaltender. Carey Price and Al Montoya are both injured, leaving the crease to Charlie Lindgren.

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