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At the Horn: Sabres 5 - Panthers 2

Ullmark makes 43 saves, Eichel records 3 points and Girgensons scores twice in road win

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Led by three points from Jack Eichel and a 43-save performance by Linus Ullmark, the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Sunday at BB&T Center. 

The Sabres got out to a 3-0 lead and held on to earn a pair of points in the second leg of their three-game road trip. 

Ullmark made his third start in a row for Buffalo and Eichel picked up his eighth multi-point game of the season. It's the fifth time he's posted at least three points in a game this year. 

With a goal and two assists, Eichel also extended his point streak to five games. He has 10 points (6+4) during the streak. 

Zemgus Girgensons scored twice, his first two-goal game since Jan. 25, 2016. Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson also lit the lamp for Buffalo. 


What happened

Buffalo potted two goals with within 1:59 of each other toward the end of the first period to take a 2-0 lead. 

First, Eichel went coast to coast, threw the puck in front, and Skinner redirected it with 3:36 remaining in the first to open the scoring.  

Then with 1:37 left, Girgensons scored his first of the game, beating Sam Montembeault with a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot. At that point, Buffalo had scored twice on five shots. 

The Sabres went up 3-0 at the 3:42 mark of the second period when Eichel, in the midst of a cycle, circled around the Panthers zone and waited for some chaos in front of the net before unleashing a wrist shot for his 14th goal of the season.  

Zach Bogosian, who made his season debut, picked up an assist for his first point of the season. Buffalo started the game with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, but found themselves down to 10 forwards early on because Evan Rodrigues left on his first shift 1:55 in and did not return. 

Ullmark had to be sharp between the pipes as Florida increased their pressure after the third Buffalo goal. The Panthers finally got on the board when Noel Acciari scored in the slot with 10:31 remaining in the second after play drifted to the middle of the ice following a faceoff in the Buffalo zone. 

About two minutes later, Aaron Ekblad hit the crossbar as Florida threatened to make it a one-goal game.

Olofsson give Buffalo some breathing room when he snapped home a wrist shot with 5:19 left in the second for his eighth goal of the season.  

Florida scored again early in the third period. At the 3:08 mark, Brett Connolly scored a power-play goal on a quick one-timer from the point. 

With 6:35 to play, Girgensons banged home a rebound for his second goal of the night for the final marker of the game. 


What it means

The Sabres improve to 11-9-3 on the season and 5-6-1 on the road.

With 14 goals in 23 games so far this season, Eichel is already halfway to his previous best goal total (28), set in the 2018-19 season.

Eichel's output through 23 games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 49 goals and 103 points, which would be the highest goal and point totals by a Sabre since Pat LaFontaine (53+95) and Alexander Mogilny (76+51) in 1992-93.

All nine of Jeff Skinner's goals this season have come during 5-on-5 play. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, he is tied for sixth-most in the league entering play.

It's the third time Buffalo has scored at least five goals in a game and the first since Oct. 9.

 

Roll the highlight film

Olofsson's shot really is something.

Video: BUF@FLA: Olofsson beats Montembeault on partial break


Up next

The Sabres will be in Tampa on Monday to play the Lightning at Amalie Arena. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage on MSG starting at 6:30. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray will have the call on MSG and WGR 550.

Stay tuned to Sabres.com for news and notes throughout the day. 

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