NHL Game Summary - Florida at Buffalo
(Friday, November 10th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Florida 4 (OT)
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek scored just 19 seconds into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers at HSBC Arena.
In the extra session, Ales Kotalik had the puck at the left circle and sent a shot on net that was slowed down by the stick of a Florida defender. Vanek, though, grabbed the puck in front of the goal, went from the backhand to the forehand and put the puck past an outstretched Alexander Auld to win the game.
"I was just in front screening the goal for Kotalik," said Vanek. "I think he was shooting the one-timer and it hit (Mike Van Ryn's) stick and broke it. I just picked it up and moved it to my forehand because I knew the goalie was moving."
Vanek finished the game with two goals and Kotalik had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who have won two straight and three of four.
Martin Biron stopped 15 shots for Buffalo, which came back from a two-goal deficit to win a game for the sixth time this season.
Gary Roberts had a goal and an assist and Auld stopped 21 shots for the Panthers, who have lost two straight and five of their last six.
The game was tied heading into the third period, but Buffalo assumed a 4-2 lead with goals separated by 50 seconds.
Adam Mair outskated a Florida player to grab control of the puck deep along the left boards. He threw a pass to the left inside circle where Paul Gaustad one-timed it over the glove of Auld 3:14 in.
Moments later, Chris Drury snapped a shot on net that Auld made a sprawling save on, but the rebound went right to Kotalik, who banged it in for his fifth goal of the season.
The Panthers cut their deficit in half when Ville Peltonen sent a drop pass from the low right side to Joe Nieuwendyk, who snapped a wrister over the right shoulder of Biron with 9:09 left to play.
With time running out in the game, Steve Montador's slap shot over the right pad of an unscreened Biron tied the game with 3:21 to play to send it to overtime.
"It's a great comeback," said Auld. "This is a big point and they're a great team. Obviously, you want to win. When you're that close to getting something done it's tough."
The Panthers scored the only goal of the first period to take a 1-0 lead heading into the second.
Olli Jokinen was fighting for the puck along the right boards and it popped out to the low slot where Roberts chipped it past an unprepared Biron at the 5:20 mark.
The Sabres had a chance to tie the game when Vanek was awarded a penalty shot after he was hooked on a breakaway. Vanek, however, was completely winded from a long shift and his weak wrister was easily stopped by Auld just 1:37 into the second.
Shortly after, Florida took a 2-0 lead when Ruslan Salei was sprung on a breakaway and he snapped a wrister over the glove of Biron for his second goal of the season.
The Sabres, though, scored a pair of goals separated by 2:13 to tie the game.
Just 1:24 after the Buffalo goal, Vanek knocked the puck out of the air and snapped a wrister into left corner of the net from the low slot for his ninth goal of the season.
A bit later, Jochen Hecht fought off a defender behind the net and centered the puck to Brian Campbell, who one-timed it into the left corner of the net.
"We didn't play that bad I thought and we were down two," said Vanek. "We just kept on coming and we knew as soon as we get that first one we usually roll pretty good."
Buffalo travels to Philadelphia for a game on Saturday...The Panthers play in New Jersey on Saturday...The Panthers are 1-6-2 as the road team this season...Florida was held scoreless in its three power play attempts while Buffalo went 1-for-6 on the power play.
11/11 00:28:26 ET