Panthers blank Sabres 3-0 in home finale
Huberdeau scores twice to help Cats end skid
Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals and James Reimer made 30 saves as the Florida Panthers snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with a 3-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres in their final home game of the season.
With the win, the Panthers climbed over the Sabres into sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Hey, it’s not much, but at least it’s something...
Nick Bjugstad notched the game’s first goal 7:45 into the second period. After Reilly Smith blasted a shot wide of the net, Thomas Vanek collected the rebound and fed Bjugstad, who fired a quick wrister through goaltender Robin Lehner.
Huberdeau, who was denied on a breakaway by Lehner’s skate in the opening frame, scored his first of the night with 2:57 left in the period with the Cats on a power play. Lehner stopped Jonathan Marchessault’s initial rush, but the Sabres failed to clear the front of the net. Jaromir Jagr knocked the puck towards the cage, only to be denied by Lehner’s pads. Hubderdeau then was able to push Jagr’s rebound over the goal line while falling into the net to finally light the lamp.
Jagr and Huberdeau combined again to complete the scoring 5:55 into the third period. The 45-year-old took possession of puck in the corner and handed off to Hubderdeau, who rounded the Buffalo net. Huberdeau’s attempt to find an oncoming Vincent Trocheck in the slot deflected off defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s skate and went underneath Lehner.
The Panthers will wrap up the 2016-17 season with a road game tonight at the Verizon Center against the Washington Capitals.
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Swords & Tequila
- Shawn Thornton played the final game of his 14-year NHL career and dished out four hits to go along with two shots. Thornton was robbed of a goal by Robin Lehner early in the third period.
- Speaking of Lehner, he finished the game with 34 saves as the Cats kept him busy throughout, registering double-digits shots in each period.
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s brace allowed him to hit the ten-goal plateau for the third straight season and fourth time in his career. Huberdeau now has 26 points in 30 games.
- After scoring against the last time out against St. Louis, rookie Denis Malgin followed up with another strong performance. Malgin fired a game-high (tied with Huberdeau) six shots on goal.
- Speaking of rookies, defensemen Ian McCoshen and MacKenzie Weegar each played their second NHL game and were in the lineup together for the first time. McCoshen finished with two hits in 13:33 TOI, while Weegar had two shots, a hit and a takeaway in 18:44.
- Jaromir Jagr’s two assists gave the ageless wonder an even thirty. Jagr is one of five Panthers to play in all 81 games.
- Former Cat Dmitry Kuliov logged 21:52 of ice time and finished with a shot, a block, a hit and a takeaway.
- Die By The Blade has the other side of Florida’s victory. Each team won twice against each other, but the Sabres picked up an extra point in a shootout to take the season-series./