|@ Panthers (3-1-0)||2||0||1||3|
The Panthers remained fairly dominant in the first 5 minutes of play and had some good shots against Chad Johnson. Erik Gudbranson in particular got the puck past Johnson but could not poke it past the line to score. In any event, the Sabres could not even get a shot on goal until nearly 6 minutes into the game. After those 6 minutes, Luongo did have to make saves on difficult shots in order to prevent the Sabres from scoring and he did so successfully. With 12:38 left in the period, Mike Weber of the Buffalo Sabres got a penalty for tripping and only a few seconds later, Josh Gorges of the Sabres was called for a hooking penalty, so the Panthers had a sizable 5-on-3 opportunity. The Panthers capitalized on this opportunity and Jaromir Jagr scored on the 5-on-3, so the Panthers still had a man advantage after the goal. The goal was assisted by Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad. However, the Sabres killed that penalty and Dave Bolland was called for hooking not long after. After some sweet saves from Luongo, the penalty was killed. That was the Panthers’ 8th straight penalty kill this season. The period ended with 2:53 left that will be carried over into the second period because a Gudbranson hit knocked one of the glass panels out and the repair would take too long. The Panthers led 1-0 at the end of the truncated period. The Panthers had 12 shots on goal and the Sabres had 7.
Weird First-Second Period Hybrid Time
The end of the first period/start of the second started off with a bang and a quick Jagr goal. I swear that man does not age. The goal was unassisted. Shortly after, Willie Mitchell was called for an interference penalty, which I guess you could say carried over into the second period and then the strange two plus minutes of in-between time ended and the real second period commenced.
The first minute or so of the second period was occupied with that Mitchell penalty call and almost as soon as he got out, Reilly Smith was sent to the sin bin for hooking. That penalty was killed but after a bunch of traffic in front of the net led to a Gudbranson cross checking penalty, the Panthers went right back on the kill but the Sabres could not get a goal past Luongo this time either but with 12:50 left, Jake McCabe of the Sabres scored to tie the game at 1. It seems that the Sabres began to gain momentum after their goal and they gained primary puck possession heading into the second half of the period. This dominance carried over toward the end of the period, but Luongo was there to make every save. The Panthers led the Sabres 2-1 at the end of the period and while the Panthers had 20 shots on goal, the Sabres had 18.
The first few minutes of the third period were fairly quiet but with 17:11 left in the period, Mark Pysyk of the Buffalo Sabres was penalized on high sticking a call and the Panthers went on the power play. The power play unit came out strong and after a few shots, Aleksander Barkov snuck one through to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead. The goal was assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Aaron Ekblad. That allowed the game to go back to even strength but this 5-on-5 play did not last long, as Matt Moulson was sent to the penalty box for holding right after the goal was scored. With 11:10 left in the game, Vincent Trocheck was penalized on a boarding call and the Panthers had yet another penalty to kill, or so we thought. Very soon after the penalty was called, Jamie McGinn of the Sabres was called for interference and some 4-on-4 action ensued. With 8:16, the Panthers showed that they just love being in the penalty box when Aaron Ekblad was called for delay of game and the Sabres took advantage when Tyler Ennis was able to get a slap shot past Luongo to make the score 3-2. This goal was not, however, enough for the Sabres to gain momentum. The Panthers won 3-2. The Panthers had 29 shots on goal and the Sabres had 26.
Jaromir Jagr seems to be a pretty consistent addition to this category. Tonight, he scored 2 great goals. That second goal was his 100th point against the Buffalo Sabres. Aleksander Barkov fed him some nice passes and assisted both of those goals. In fact, the majority of the points scored in this game were from Barkov and Jagr. When Barkov scored on a power play in the third period, Jagr got the primary assist. I feel like Luongo should just have a permanent spot on this list, because at least so far, he has not had a bad game (knock on wood). He saved 24 of 26 shots on goal for a .923 save percentage.
The Panthers will be playing the Dallas Stars in Florida on Saturday, October 17th at 7:00 pm. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.