Panthers come back from 3 down again to beat Sabres 7-4
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Anton Lundell scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, and the Florida Panthers came back from three down for the second straight game to beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 on Thursday night.
Aaron Ekblad had two goals and an assist, Lucas Carlsson scored his first NHL goal and added an assist, and Sam Reinhart scored and had three assists for the Panthers. Jonathan Huberdeau also had a goal and three assists.
The Panthers trailed 3-0 after the first period and 4-1 in the second. They also climbed out of a 4-1 hole to beat Washington 5-4 on Tuesday, making Florida the ninth team in NHL history to overcome a three-goal deficit in consecutive games.
“They came out hard. I was a little disappointed in the start — we didn’t have everybody going,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “In this league, you don’t get away with it very often. We got away with it twice this week.”
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 12 shots before being replaced by Spencer Knight with 8:44 left in the second period. Knight stopped all 19 shots he faced.
Vinnie Hinostroza scored two goals for the Sabres. Dylan Cozens had a goal and an assist, and Casey Mittelstadt also scored. Aaron Dell made 38 saves.
With the score tied 4-all, Eetu Luostarinen made a stick save in front of the empty Panthers net right at the goal line, then Lundell gave Florida a 5-4 lead moments later when he poked in the puck from in front with 11:55 left.
The save by Loustarinen was reviewed by officials after Lundell scored and allowed to stand.
“I went to thank (Loustarinen). If he doesn’t stop that, my goal wouldn’t have counted,” Lundell said.
Huberdeau and Lundell added empty-net goals in the final minutes.
Ekblad’s power-play goal tied it 4-all at 1:07 of the third.
After trailing 3-0, the Panthers scored three times in the second period. Carlsson started the scoring at 9:57. Mittlestadt made it 4-1 at 11:16, but a shot by Carlsson deflected off Reinhart’s stick at 12:32 to cut it to 4-2. Ekblad’s shot from the left circle made it 4-3 with 4:20 left in the second.
“At some point when they’re coming after us we have to play back and stop the bleeding,” Mittelstadt said. “That’s been a sour spot for a lot of the year.”
The Sabres scored three goals on seven shots in the first period. Hinostroza made it 1-0 on his first goal at 3:21, followed by Cozens’ top-shelf shot at 7:41. Hinostroza’s second goal with 5:35 left stretched it to 3-0.
“Overall, (the Panthers) are an incredible hockey team, we know that,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “They just had 50 shots against the Washington Capitals two nights ago. I thought the pace was unbelievable. Our guys were fine with the pace and then a few guys struggled. We had some self-inflicted errors that accumulated through the second period.”
Panthers captain and center Aleksander Barkov missed his seventh consecutive game with a knee injury. Barkov has skated multiple times during his absence and taken part in at least one practice, albeit while wearing a non-contact jersey, but remains out of the Florida lineup.
NOTES: The teams will meet three more times this season, all between March 7 and April 8. ... It was Buffalo’s first trip to Florida since the trade sending former Sabres captain Jack Eichel to Vegas. Eichel had points (2-5-7) in each of his last four games at Florida with the Sabres. ... Saturday’s home game for Florida is a 1 p.m. start, part of the NHL’s package to provide European and Asian nations with prime-time games there on some weekends.
Sabres: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Panthers: Host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
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