The Panthers hit five posts and had two goals disallowed, including one in the shootout. But the Panthers' final shootout beat Jhonas Enroth, whose 34-save effort went for not in a 2-1 loss.
The Sabres languished for much of the game. They managed only eight shots in the first period and six in the second. But one of those second-period shots gave the Sabres hope. Jamie McBain scored his third goal of the season, taking a Steve Ott pass and one-timing it past Tim Thomas. Matt D'Agostini got the other assist.
"I'm an offensive guy. I want to produce," said McBain, who acknowledged frustration at not being able to score more this season. "This is a sigh of relief. Hopefully it'll help me turn this around."
The Sabres couldn't turn themselves around in the third period, surrendering nine more shots to the Panthers – who managed 25 through the first two periods. Brad Boyes evened the game nine minutes into the third, deflecting a shot after Tom Gilbert rifled a rebound from the faceoff circle. Boyes had another goal waved off a few minutes later, as Toronto ruled the whistle had blown before the puck went into the net. And four of the Panthers' five posts came in the third.
"We've got to find a way to step on the other team's throat and end it," said defenseman Mike Weber.
That allowed the game to go into overtime and, ultimately, a shootout, where Boyes proved the hero against his former team. Jonathan Huberdeau seemingly scored on the second shootout try, but Toronto ruled he pushed Enroth's pad into the net with the puck. That gave the Sabres life for a moment, but Ott missed his shot and Boyes hit the post on his cleanup shootout try, but the puck bounced off the back of Enroth's leg and into the net.
"I don't know if I'd say it's bad luck," said Enroth, who falls to 1-8-4 on the year. "He's pretty much impossible to stop on the shootout … Florida played a little bit better than us."
Coach Ted Nolan was more blunt:
We were just awful … It was a night where our goalie could've stolen it for us. It was a night you just want to forget about."
The Sabres have scored 17 goals in Enroth's 13 starts this year. Weber wore the A in place of Tyler Myers, who sat out the first game of his three-game suspension for an illegal hit Weber had a team-high eight hits. John Scott took an odd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first period, throwing the puck into the net after the play was whistled dead; he'd been cross-checked to the ice and did so from his knees.
The Panthers improve to 17-21-6. The Sabres fell to 12-26-4 and 11 points behind the Panthers for seventh in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo next plays Saturday at Washington.
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