BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 4-1 deficit in the third period was almost erased by the Sabres in Sunday afternoon’s game against the Florida Panthers. They scored two goals less than two minutes apart, but couldn’t get any closer, and fell 5-3.
A big second period from the Panthers helped give them a 3-1 lead going into the third period. They added a fourth goal in the final period.
“There’s a reason why they are averaging more than four goals a game,” forward Kyle Okposo said. “Best offensive team in the league and they have good players over there, they’ve got, you just have to give them an inch and they will take it so we just got a little loose there in the second and they took advantage.”
Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson scored the two goals in the third to make it 4-3. They were called for two penalties in the final three minutes to send the Panthers to the Power Play. Florida scored a goal to pull away for the win.
“We definitely were able to swing momentum,” head coach Don Granato said. “We were fighting ourselves more than anything they did although I do not discredit they’re a great hockey team, they proved it, but it was a lot more we didn’t do and I don’t think they forced us into anything. We just didn’t have our game.”
Perhaps the emotional overload from Friday’s “RJ Night” played a part in the loss.
“It was an emotional game Friday,” Okposo said. “Very emotional game and the last time we had one of those was we went out to Edmonton and laid an egg and I thought tonight we did a good job coming out being ready to play and as a young team that is not an easy thing to do.”
“The entirety of the game we just couldn’t get the emotional energy,” Granato said. “It was low. I give our guys some credit for trying to find it and fight but we just didn’t have that jump, that zip that we’ve had, we know we have when we are fresh. We just didn’t look fresh.”
Okposo scored his 18th goal of the season in the first period.
The Sabres are back in action against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.