After an active start, the Panthers hold off the Sabres

October 15, 2022;  Buffalo, New York, USA;  Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) looks to play the puck as Buffalo Sabers goaltender Eric Comrie (31) tries to cover it during the first period at KeyBank Center.  Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Ekblad scored the go-ahead goal on the second period power play as the Florida Panthers defeated the host Buffalo Sabers 4-3 on Saturday afternoon.

Florida also got goals from Colin White, Matthew Tkachuk and Brandon Montour.

The match ended in a skirmish as several Sabers went at Tkachuk.

In a battle of backup goaltenders making their first starts of the season, Spencer Knight made 24 saves to earn the win.

Buffalo got goals from Alex Tuch, Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Dahlin. Sabers goaltender Eric Comrie took the loss, making 33 saves.

The teams played to a 2-2 tie in an active first period that featured Buffalo’s 18-8 advantage in faceoffs. Florida had more attempts, however, 29-19.

Tuch opened the scoring at 10:35. He used his speed to get past Marc Staal, who was sipping. Tuch beat Knight with a backhander that went five holes.

White, new to the Panthers this season after opening his career in Ottawa, tied the game about four minutes later on a one-timer from the high post. Eetu Luostarinen received the primary assist for his pass.

Florida took a 2-1 lead 1:51 into the first when Tkachuk – narrowly outside the box – skated to the front of the net and dunked in a rebound off Gustav Forsling’s shot.

Buffalo tied the score 42 seconds later when Girgensons scored from the left circle on a drop pass from JJ Peterka.

With 2:31 left in the second, Ekblad gave Florida a 3-2 lead on a pass from Sam Reinhart. The pass wasn’t perfect, but Ekblad scooped it up and had plenty of open ice for a wrist shot.

The Panthers made it 4-2 on a goal by Montour with 17:45 left in the second. Reinhart started the game with a steal. Tkachuk drove to the net and dove to the slot, where Montour set it up for the goal.

Buffalo cut the deficit to 4-3 just 76 seconds later when Dahlin took a pass from Tuch and scored despite a save by Radko Gudas.

– Media in the field

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