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game recap

Ullmark makes 32 saves, Sabres hold off Panthers

Reinhart has goal, assist to help Buffalo to second straight victory

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

Reinhart's top-shelf PPG

FLA@BUF: Reinhart rips one-timer off the crossbar

Jimmy Vesey fakes a shot and dishes to Sam Reinhart, who finds the net with a sizzling one-timer off the crossbar for a power-play goal

  • 00:41 •

BUFFALO -- Linus Ullmark made 32 saves for the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist, and Marcus Johansson had two assists for the Sabres (19-17-7), who have won two in a row and were playing their first game without rookie forward Victor Olofsson.

Olofsson, who leads NHL rookies in goals (16) and points (35), is out 5-6 weeks with a lower-body injury sustained in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.


[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Sabres highlights]


"Definitely makes it a lot easier for everybody to play our game every night," Ullmark said of the Sabres managing injuries. "Depending on what's going out there, it doesn't really matter because if we stick with it and believe in our system like we've done in the last couple of games, we get good results."

Mike Matheson and Evgenii Dadonov scored for the Panthers (21-15-5). Sergei Bobrovsky allowed three goals on seven shots before being replaced by Chris Driedger, who made 11 saves in relief.

Video: FLA@BUF: Dadonov cleans up rebound in front

"As soon as we got a goal, I felt like we had a chance to get something out of this game, and I think that was going on the whole game," Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. "We were there, we were there, but we weren't just clicking. With being around the net, we didn't have enough guys playing their best. We were still there. But it was a great opportunity. It was a disappointing game to let it get away without nothing happening."

Defenseman Henri Jokiharju pinched, took a quick pass from Reinhart, and lifted the puck top corner glove side on Bobrovsky to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 12:49 of the first period.

"He just has been somebody who is looking for those opportunities to join the rush, but he does it in a really smart way," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "He pretty well never gets caught in behind or lost in the play and he's able to keep his momentum going when he does attack. So it was good to see him get some fruits for that hard labor he's bringing us without the puck."

Video: FLA@BUF: Jokiharju goes upstairs on nice passing play

Conor Sheary scored on Johansson's cross-crease backhand feed to make it 2-0 at 1:35 of the second.

"We feed off each other," Sheary said. "I think he likes to play with a lot of speed, as do I. We play a lot of give-and-goes, and with [Jimmy Vesey] working out there too, I think our line just has some good chemistry right now."

Reinhart extended it to 3-0 at 5:42 with a one-timer from the top of the left face-off circle on the power play, chasing Bobrovsky from the net.

"At that stage of the game, you know, I think they didn't have much time in there, he probably didn't have enough shots to get into the game. And I didn't like the third one," Quenneville said.

Matheson scored with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle to cut it to 3-1 at 12:40 of the third period.

With the extra attacker on, Dadonov narrowed it to 3-2 at 18:50 after he pounced on a loose puck in the crease.

"It's kind of one of those games where you look back and you feel like you played a decent game. But if a couple of those shots had gone in, we'd be feeling much different," Matheson said. "At the end of the day, they didn't, so we need to find ways to be better and to bury those chances when we get them."

Video: FLA@BUF: Matheson strikes on the rush


They said it

"I think we should play like that the whole game. Like we are aggressive in every zone, everywhere we go to the pucks first. In the third period, we want to win. Want to come back, we want to score goals. And that's how we need to play all 60 minutes, not just third period." -- Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov

"The power play, just getting that hunger to shoot tonight, I thought that not only Sam's goal, also on the ensuing power play there was a hunger to shoot that we haven't seen for a while and we need to build on that. But our specialty teams were the catalyst for what happened here tonight. I'm just proud of the guys. Big, big win for us. Entering the New Year with two wins puts us back into a position we want to be in and now we've got to build on it." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger


Need to know

The Sabres were 0-for-16 on the power play in their previous six games before Reinhart's goal. … Eichel has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. … Johansson has five points (one goal, three assists) during a four-game point streak.


What's next

Panthers: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, NHLN, ATTSN-PT, FS-F, NHL.TV) 

Sabres: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, FS-MW, MSG-B, NHL.TV) 

Video: Reinhart, Ullmark help Sabres edge Panthers, 3-2

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