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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Sabres 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 3 1 0 0 4
Sabres 2 0 1 0 3
FLA - J. Winchester (6), S. Bergenheim (11), E. Jovanovski (1), N. Bjugstad (11)
BUF - PPG - D. Stafford (6), D. Stafford (7), PPG - S. Ott (6)

BUFFALO —  ( - Nick Bjugstad's goal at 16:12 of the second period proved to be the game-winner and the Florida Panthers earned a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Tuesday night.

Bjugstad came up the left wing side before sending a wrist shot over Sabres goalie Ryan Miller's shoulder from inside the faceoff circle for his 11th goal of the season. The win was the Panthers' second in as many days.

"Anytime we can push forward and contribute I think it's good. We're always taught to jump into the play and give the forwards another option. Today that was the case."

- Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski
1. Early Scoring: The offensive fireworks sure did start from the get go as three goals were scored in the opening 6:16 of the game. Buffalo struck first as Drew Stafford ended Florida's penalty kill goose egg with the power play goal 2:23 in. Florida had killed off 29 straight power plays over 10 games. Jesse Winchester tied the game less than a minute later off a deflection of Ed Jovanovski's shot but Stafford answered his goal for a 2-1 Buffalo lead a little over five minutes into the game.

2. Follow The Captain: That 2-1 lead was the last Buffalo would see and it came courtesy the Panthers captain. After setting up the first goal, JovoCop gave the Cats a lead they would not relinquish. Sean Bergenheim tied the game with a close range shots with 1:56 to play in the first and the captain scored the third goal of the period just 52 seconds later. He knocked down a pass in the neutral zone, skated in all alone and fired a shot top shelf on Ryan Miller for a 3-2 advantage.

3. Two Wins In 24 Hours: The offense slowed down in the last 40 minutes but that's not to say there were chances abound. In the third period alone Tim Thomas faced 16 Buffalo shots as the Sabres looked for the equalizer. After Nick Bjugstad had given the Cats a 4-2 lead in the second period, Buffalo got to within one with their second power play goal of the night. The penalty kill, led by Thomas buckled down after that with the Sabres looking for the equalizer. Florida had to kill off almost four minutes of power play time late in the third and did it thanks to great efforts from the penalty kill units on the 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 advantages. That gave the Cats their second big win in 24 hours as they closed out their three-game road trip with four out of six points, a good trip indeed. 
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@reece_freebairn: Two wins in a row for the @FlaPanthers!!!!! What a great start to the week!!! #Panthers

@meadowsm: Incredible 6:00 min of PK to end it! @FlaPanthers win it in Buffalo 4-3. Great play all around this trip. Fri bobble-heads!!! #flapanthers

@Whoknew126: Strong hold for Timmy and the @FlaPanthers. Two in row!! Good work boys! And just because this is funny and ICYMI:

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Alejandro Hernandez: Great game boys!!!!! Sabres See ya

Bobby Ross: Only 5 points out of the Playoffs

Andrew Everding: keep winning and thats a good possibility

3. Scoring on a beautiful rush in the second period, center Nick Bjugstad netted the eventual game-winner, his team-leading third of the season. It also stretched his point streak to three games (1-2-3).

11. It was a couple of 11's on the night as both Sean Bergenheim and Bjugstad scored their 11th goal of the season.

15. Netminder Tim Thomas was busy, especially in the third period. He turned aside 15 of 16 shots on the night.

52. The Panthers went from trailing to leading late in the first period in a matter of 52 seconds as Bergenheim and Ed Jovanovski scored for a 3-2 Panthers lead.

1,000. Leading the way with the goal and an assist, it was a big night for the Panthers captain in his 1,100th career NHL game.

Ed Jovanovski
JovoCop was great in the ice time that he saw, helping the Panthers get on the board and then giving them the lead they wouldn't relinquish in his first goal since Apr. 5, 2012.

1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Points, +3, 3 Hits, 15:03 TOI
Florida returns home for a single game before heading right back on the road for four straight. The Panthers will host the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center on Friday night. It could be the first meeting of the top two draft picks in this past summer's draft. Colorado took Nathan MacKinnon with the first overall pick and Florida followed that up with the selection of Aleksander Barkov (left Tuesday's game with an injury and did not return). Colorado will host Toronto on Tuesday before heading to South Florida for the game. The Avs, who are currently third in the Central division with 67 points (31-12-5) are led offensively by Matt Duchen who has 17 goals and 41 points in 45 games while MacKinnon leads all NHL rookies with 31 points in 48 games. Semyon Varlamov has been stellar between the pipes with a 2.34 GAA and .927 save percentage while posting a 24-8-5 record.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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