Recap: Panthers erupt in the third, double up Sabres 4-2

Huberdeau and Barkov power Cats to third straight win

Jonathan Huberdeau scored two really pretty goals and added an assist and linemate Aleksander Barkov produced a goal and two assists, to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 comeback win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

The Cats got a fourth third period goal from rookie Jayce Hawryluk, who guided the rebound of Vincent Trocheck’s hard wrister that caught iron into the back of the net to put Florida ahead 3:50 into the final frame

James Reimer made 32 saves for his, and the club’s third straight win. Frank Vatrano chipped in with two assists and Evgenii Dadonov also added a helper.

The Panthers were very good in the first period, but didn’t score; not so good in the second where Buffalo took the lead on a power-play goal from Jack Eichel (his first-ever tally against Florida); and completely dominant for most of the third, where they scored three times in a 2:35 span to take control of the game after it looked like Linus Ullmark, who was very good in a losing effort, might shut them down all night.

Vladimir Sobotka, who was in Reimer’s grill most of the night, completed the scoring with a meaningless goal with eight seconds left in regulation.

Before Huberdeau scored his second goal at 16:45, the Sabres appeared to close the gap to 3-2, but Bob Bougher successfully challenged what would have been Eichel’s second marker for offsides.

Defenseman Mike Matheson did not play after the first period because of a lower-body injury. The severity of that injury is not yet know.

The win put the Panthers (now 9-4 in their last 13) two games above NHL .500 for just the third time this season and for the first time since December 31. Florida will try to reach new heights record-wise in 2018-19 with a win over Carolina on Thursday, the penultimate game in this seven-game homestand.

Video Recap (courtesy of