Girgensons, Eichel lead Sabres over Panthers, 5-2
Panthers drop 2nd straight
SUNRISE – Zemgus Girgensons and Linus Ullmark ended the Buffalo Sabres’ three-game losing streak.
Girgensons scored twice, Ullmark made 43 saves and the Sabres beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Sunday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
“We did a lot of good things tonight and were rewarded with a `W,’” said Jack Eichel, who had a goal and two assists. “We did a good job of finding a way to get that next goal.”
Victor Olofsson and Jeff Skinner also scored.
“I thought (Ullmark) played an outstanding game today staying on the initial shots,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. “He was the king of the first shots tonight. We’re really, really happy with his performance.”
Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari scored for the Panthers, and Samuel Montembeault stopped 20 shots. The Panthers have lost two straight after winning their previous three, losing 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. They have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season.
“All of a sudden you’ve got a tough weekend,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Let’s get back to the drawing board and tighten things up and do things the right way.”
Connolly’s power-play goal — on a shot from above the left circle — cut it to 4-2 at 3:08 of the third, but Girgensons countered with his second goal with 6:35 to go. Girgensons was able to push the puck into the corner of the net.
“I just took it to the net, shot it once and it went in,” Girgensons said.
Connolly has five goals in his past five games, but the Panthers came away without a point in back-to-back games.
“I think we’re going to have to go through something like that,” Connolly said. “Every team is going to go through it. It’s just a matter of how we respond.”
Eichel made it 3-0 at 3:42 of the second on a shot from the right circle that got by the screened Montembeault. Eichel has six goals and four assists in a five-game points streak.
The Panthers closed to 3-1 midway through the second on Acciari’s shot from the low slot.
Olofsson responded, taking a cross-ice pass from San Reinhart to the left circle and scoring with 5:19 left in the second.
“We definitely managed the game in a way we’d like to see, finishing on opportunities, creating opportunities, and managing the lead right through,” Krueger said.
Notes: Sabres C Evan Rodrigues left after 40 seconds of the first with an undisclosed injury and did not return. D Zach Bogosian made his season debut after offseason hip surgery. Assistant coach Don Granato returned to the team from a medical leave of absence since Oct. 1 due to pneumonia. Chris Taylor, who filled in for Granato, returned to Rochester of the AHL. ... Panthers D Keith Yandle played his 821st consecutive game — the longest active run in the NHL — after missing part of Saturday night’s game at Carolina after getting hit in the face with a puck. D Riley Stillman was recalled from Springfield of the AHL on Saturday in case Yandle couldn’t play.
Sabres: At Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Panthers: At Washington on Wednesday night.
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