The Florida Panthers picked up their second home win of the young season with a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Methuselah man Jaromir Jagr scored the club's first two goals and set up Aleksander Barkov for the eventual game-winner early in the third period.
After the teams traded some good first period chances, Jagr got the Cats on the board at the 8:52 mark with a power-play tally The ageless wonder took a goal-mouth feed from Barkov and lifted the puck past Buffalo starter Chad Johnson. Nick Bjugstad collected the second assist, starting the play by working the puck free from Johan Larsson.
Jagr struck again late in the frame, beating Johnson with a quick wrist shot after Buffalo failed to clear the puck with Florida's top line applying heavy pressure. The even-strength marker, his fourth goal of the season, was unassisted.
One of the areas where the Cats have some trouble over the opening week of the campaign has been the second period, and last night was no exception.
The Sabres outshot the Panthers 12-6 and cut the deficit in half when Jake McCabe scored his first NHL goal at 7:10. The rookie defender converted a nice pass from Marcus Foligno to finish off a Buffalo rush. Nicolas Deslauriers was awarded the second helper on the play.
Jagr and Barkov teamed up again with the Cats on an early third period power play to put the Cats back up by two. After taking a pass from Aaron Ekblad, Jagr ripped a shot off Johnson's pads. Barkov was there knock the rebound home for his second goal of 2015-16.
The Sabres replied with a power-play goal of their own 8:11 later when Tyler Ennis one-timed Ryan O'Reilly's soft point-to-point dish by a screened Luongo. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen drew the secondary assist.
Right after the goal, Luongo made a good glove save on Zemgus Girgensons to preserve the lead and the Panthers battened down the hatches the rest of the way to go two for two at the BB&T Center.
Odds & Ends
- After a portion of the boards and glass were dislodged, the teams were sent off the ice late in the first period. After repairs were made, the clubs came out and completed the final 2:53, which included Jagr's second goal 27 seconds into the resumption of play.
- Jagr's three-point night gave him the team scoring lead after four games with six points (4G/2A). It was his second brace of the young season.
- For the second straight game, Aleksander Barkov led the Panthers with six shots on goal. The third-year player is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the offensive zone.
- Jack Eichel finished the game with two shots and a -1 rating. The rookie phenom almost had an assist, getting by Brian Campbell before dishing off to an open Evander Kane in front. The bid was denied by a fine shot block from Alex Petrovic.
- Erik Gudbranson and Nick Bjugstad threw their big frames around, each finishing the game with five hits.
- Roberto Luongo finished with 22 saves to raise his record to 2-1. Chad Johnson made 26 stops and fell to 1-2.
- Is it too early for scoreboard watching? On a night when the Panthers collected two more points, it sure was nice to see division rivals Tampa Bay and Ottawa get beaten.
- Sharpen you sword and stop by Die by the Blade for the other side of the first meeting between the Cats and Sabres.