SUNRISE, Fla. – There's never many people in the stands at BB&T Center and Florida Panthers fans are missing a lot when the Buffalo Sabres come to town because their club can't lose.
The Sabres dropped their sixth straight game here, collapsing in the third period of a 4-2 defeat that was their third in a row and further put a dagger into their slim playoff hopes.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Jayce Hawryluk and Aleksander Barkov scored in a span of 5 minutes, 43 seconds early in the third period to wipe out a 1-0 Buffalo lead. Huberdeau added the clincher with 3:11 left in a game played before a crowd of about 6,000.
The Sabres had snapped a seven-game overall losing streak against Florida with a 4-3 win Jan. 3 in Buffalo, but Tuesday's defeat prevented them from earning back-to-back triumphs over the Panthers for the first time since they won three straight in 2011.
The Sabres continue to struggle to score. They have three goals or less for six straight games and only have five goals in the last three.
A low offensive output in Florida is nothing new for Buffalo. The Sabres have just 11 goals in the six consecutive losses here and only 19 goals in their previous 10 visits. They haven't scored five goals or more in any game here since a 5-2 win on Oct. 21, 2009.
Breaking the ice: The Sabres took a 1-0 lead at 5:14 of the second as Jack Eichel tipped home a Sam Reinhart pass from the right circle for his 19th goal of the season. Eichel has at least one point in eight of the last nine games.
Finally solving Florida: It was Eichel's first goal in 13 career games against the Panthers. The only NHL team left for him to score against over his four seasons is Montreal. Eichel has eight assists in 15 career games against the Habs.
Quick strikes: Florida tied the game at 3:07 of the third as Huberdeau scored his 14th off the year, sliding a backhand on a breakaway between Ullmark's legs as Jake McCabe vacated the area and let Huberdeau skate in unchallenged. Hawryluk put the Panthers up at 3:50 after a Casey Mittelstadt turnover when Vincent Trocheck's shot clanged off the goalpost, hit the onrushing Florida forward in the midsection and bounced in.
Captain Magic: Barkov, who scored perhaps the NHL's goal of the season here Sunday with a between-the-legs tally against Montreal's Carey Price, pulled off more magic at 5:42, going between the legs to pull the puck around Rasmus Dahlin and then sliding it between Ullmark's legs until it gently went over the line.
No Goal: Eichel appeared to get Buffalo within 3-2 with 7:07 left, one-timing home a perfect Zach Bogosian pass – but the play was ruled offside on a challenge. It was Eichel himself who was offside 15 seconds earlier, backing into the zone without possession of the puck.
Sobotka sighting: Vladimir Sobotka scored with 7.9 seconds left for the Sabres – his first tally since Nov. 8.
Quiet first: There was no scoring in the opening 20 minutes and the Panthers outshot Buffalo, 12-6. It was a sharp period for Ullmark, who made several saves from close range as Florida had 11 of the game's first 14 shots on goal.
Changes on defense: Matt Hunwick (lower body) was held out of the game as a precaution and Nathan Beaulieu played for just the fifth time in the last 27 games and the first time since Jan. 30 in Dallas. Beaulieu was partnered with Lawrence Pilut. Zach Bogosian played with Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen played with Jake McCabe.
In the history books: Jason Pominville played his 713th career game with the Sabres, taking over eighth place in franchise history. Zemgus Girgensons played his 400th career game.
Up next: The team flew to Tampa immediately after the game and will practice Wednesday in Amalie Arena. The Sabres meet the league-leading Lightning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Lightning are 9-0-2 in February and won their seventh straight game Tuesday with a 5-2 victory over Philadelphia.