The Florida Panthers returned to their winning ways Saturday night by snapping a 2-game losing skid with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.  


After trailing by one goal late in the third, Jason Garrison fired home his 4th goal of the season with 1:43 remaining to put the Florida Panthers 3-2, which proved to be enough as they held on for the win.


The victory was a relief as it was only two nights ago the Panthers lost to the Ottawa Senators in similar fashion as Nick Foligno scored with 3.5 seconds remaining in the game to give the Senators the upset.


The Sabres appeared to have drawn first blood in the opening 20 minutes of the game when Matt Ellis put the puck past Panthers goaltender, Jose Theodore but a review on the play resulted in the goal being called back due to a kicking motion, and both teams found themselves tied after the first.


In the second period the Panthers struck first as Marcel Goc buried his second of the season to give Florida the 1-0 lead. But, the Sabres were determined to head to the locker room tied as Thomas Vanek potted his 8th of the season on a beautifully executed wraparound which caught Jose Theodore out of position making the score 1-1.


Just over the midway point of the third period, Jason Pominville put the Sabres ahead 2-1 as he finished off a play set up by Brad Boyes on the powerplay for the lead. The Panthers were not going down without a fight as Tomas Fleischmann then scored for the Panthers as he picked up his own rebound and beat Miller to tie the game at deuces.


Florida then took a page from the Ottawa Senator’s book while on the powerplay as they scored just two minutes later thanks to Jason Garrison who sent a Brian Campbell 1-timed bullet past Sabres goaltender, Ryan Miller to put the Panthers up 3-2, a lead which they then hung on to for the final 2 minutes of the game.


Theodore shut the door late in the period for the Panthers, and secured victory with 24-saves on the night. “We’re playing good hockey,” said Theodore. “Even in Ottawa we think we could have won that game. The guys are really dedicated to the little details, and to playing real well.”


Notes: Panthers’ Tomas Kopecky added three assists for the Panthers, tying a career high, and reaching his 100th career point. Panthers’ record improves to 6-4-0, which marks their best season since 2005-06, at which point they then went 3-18. Jose Theodore played in his first game since leaving against the New York Islanders on Oct. 22 with an injury. Florida finished their three game road trip with a 2-1 record; they now head home where they will open a three game home stand beginning with the Jets on Monday night. The Sabres continue their five game homestand Wednesday night against the Flyers.


Adam Reid

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