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game recap

Dadonov lifts Panthers to victory, helps Luongo climb list

Has goal, assist against Sabres to push goaltender past Joseph for fourth in NHL wins

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Roberto Luongo moved into fourth place in NHL history with his 455th win Friday, but he was just as happy to help the Florida Panthers end a five-game losing streak.

Luongo made 24 saves to pass Curtis Joseph on the all-time list with a 4-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

 

[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Sabres highlights]

 

"It's been a while since we won one," said Luongo, who has 196 wins in 501 games over 10 seasons for the Panthers. "The first win is always the toughest one to get coming out of a slump. We've just got to try to build on it, and the great thing is we get to play again tomorrow night and hopefully try to make it two in a row."

Florida (5-8-2) was 0-3-2 since defeating the Anaheim Ducks 8-3 on Oct. 26. Luongo made 45 saves in a 3-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, when he played his 972nd NHL game to pass Terry Sawchuk for third-most by a goalie in League history.

"We were better defensively tonight in front of him, but when it was time to make the big save in the end, he came up huge," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "That's what goalies of that stature do, and he was a big outcome in the game tonight."

Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov each had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists for Florida.

Video: FLA@BUF: Dadonov cashes in on rebound in front

Defenseman Ian McCoshen gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 3:50 of the third period when his shot from the blue line got past goalie Robin Lehner to the stick side through a screen by Barkov.

"I just tried to join the rush and I tried to be the fourth man up, and then [Huberdeau] and I stayed at the blue line, so I just had the seeing-eye shot," McCoshen said.

Barkov scored an empty-net goal with 1:32 remaining, and Vincent Trocheck scored another 17 seconds later to make it 4-1.

The Sabres (5-9-2) have lost two of their past three games.

Kyle Okposo gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 13:02 of the first period with a power-play goal when he tipped Victor Antipin's shot from the blue line past Luongo.

Video: FLA@BUF: Okposo deflects a PPG past Luongo

"We were coming off a really good game (a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday) and we lay an egg for the last 40 minutes," Okposo said. "We just got to find a way to be more consistent. I think it's everybody, especially our forwards. I think we bear the responsibility of that game tonight. We didn't manage the puck, we weren't hard enough to play against down low, [and] we let our [defense] get plastered all night."

Dadonov tied it 1-1 at 6:52 of the second period.

Lehner made 27 saves.

 

Goal of the game

McCoshen's goal at 3:50 of the third period.

Video: FLA@BUF: McCoshen fires home shot from blue line

 

Save of the game

Lehner stopping Dadonov at 4:50 of the second period.

Video: FLA@BUF: Lehner dives for stick save at the goal line

 

Highlight of the game

Luongo's save against Sam Reinhart at 13:27 of the third period.

Video: FLA@BUF: Luongo stretches for great save on Reinhart

 

They said it

"I think it was probably our best defensive game of the year. We kept them really quiet for about 50 minutes. Obviously, they had a little flurry there which was expected, they're going to have the push to try to tie the game up. But we were able to weather that and we got rewarded with some empty-netters." -- Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo

"He cares, he's a tremendous competitor. I think he's got to focus his energy also on making the right decisions. I know he puts a tremendous burden on himself, but I think he's got to simplify his game and really take what is given. If you're going one against two, the good decision is to get it in deep. He means so well that it comes back against him, and now he's spending his energy getting back into the defensive zone and spending the wrong energy down there defending." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley on center Jack Eichel, who was minus-3 with three shots on goal

 

Need to know

Luongo is 455-368-85 with 33 ties in 18 NHL seasons, including 252 wins for the Vancouver Canucks and seven for the New York Islanders. He is 19-8-2 against the Sabres. … Buffalo is 1-3-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets this season. … Evander Kane, who had an assist on Okposo's goal, has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 16 games.

 

What's next

Panthers: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Sabres: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Luongo earns 455th win in 4-1 victory against Sabres

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