The Florida Panthers overcame a slow start and went to pound the Buffalo Sabres by a 6-1 count at KeyBank Arena.
Florida was out-shot 11-3 in the first period, but did manage to take a one-goal lead into the dressing room when former Sabre Brandon Montour moved down into the lower right circle to convert a pass from Aleksander Barkov. The second helper on Montour’s goal, which came at the 5:22 mark, went to Mason Marchment, who would go on to assist on two more Panther goals.
The Cats would pepper former goaltender Craig Anderson with 20 shots in the second period and see a 20% success rate.
Noel Acciari got his first of the season at 5:54 when he put his shoulder down and went around Rasmus Dahlin before beating Anderson off the far post, assists to Montour and Marchment.
After taking possession of a rebound created by Sam Reinhart’s shot, Barkov would find Anthony Duclair open with Anderson out of position for a power-play goal a 1:45 later.
Carter Verhaeghe finished off a pretty triangular passing play involving Marchment and Eetu Luostarinen for his 17th goal at 11:39.
Patric Hornqvist, who had a goal waived off in the first, got one that counted when he capped off the torrid 4-goal run 63 seconds later by easily depositing the puck in the net on a 3-on-1 break with the pretty tic-tac-toe assists going to Sam Bennett and MacKenzie Weegar.
In yet another display of pinpoint passing, Barkov would notch a power-play goal from Jonathan Huberdeau and The Duke 6:50 into the third to put the Panthers up by a half dozen.
Spencer Knight had his shutout bid spoiled with 6:18 when John Haydn redirected Rasmus Asplund’s shot up and over his shoulder. Casey Fitzgerald sent the two forwards into the zone with a nice bounce pass off the boards.
While he didn’t get the shutout Knight, making his first start since February 1, collected his tenth win of the campaign and first since he beat the Vegas Golden Knights on January 27. He stopped 29 of 30 Buffalo shots.
The Panthers, who retook first place in the Atlantic Division, will get right back at it tonight when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.
Wings & Things
- After wobbling a bit on home ice, the Panthers have reeled off three straight wins and have won their last four road games. That’s good, because eight of the next nine are away from FLA Live Arena.
- Playing in Buffalo for the first time since joining Florida, Sam Reinhart had an assist and four shots on goal in 18:09 of ice time, while Brandon Montour had a goal and an assist, blocked a shot and put three shots on goal in 19:04 of ice time.
- There would be no milestone for Craig Anderson. The 40-year-old Anderson, who finished with 25 saves, remains one win away from becoming the sixth U.S.-born goalie with 300 NHL wins.
- Anton Lundell the left game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return after being knocked down by Buffalo’s Mattias Samuelsson. According to Andrew Brunette, the injury doesn’t appear to be serious. We’ll know more today.
- Sam Bennett led the Panthers with five shots while Radko Gudas dished out a team-leading three hits.
- For more on Florida’s second win over the Sabres, visit Die By The Blade.