SUNRISE, Fla. – There's never a lot of people in the BB & T Center bleachers and Florida Panthers fans miss a lot when the Buffalo Sabers come to town because their club can not lose.
The Sabers lost their sixth straight game here, collapsing in the third period of a 4-2 loss that was their third in a row, and put a dagger in their thinnest hopes in the playoffs.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Jayce Hawryluk and Aleksander Barkov scored in the space of 5 minutes and 43 seconds early in the third period to erase a 1-0 lead at Buffalo. Huberdeau added the decisive goal with 3:11 to play in a match played in front of a crowd of about 6,000 people.
The Sabers had broken their seven-game losing streak against Florida with a 4-3 win on Jan. 3 in Buffalo, but Tuesday's loss prevented them from winning consecutive wins over the Panthers for the first time since winning three times right now. in 2011.
The Sabers continue to fight to score. They have three goals or less for six consecutive games and only five goals in the last three.
Low offensive production in Florida is nothing new for Buffalo. The Sabers have only 11 goals in six straight defeats here and 19 goals in their previous 10 visits. They have not scored five goals or more in any game here since their 5-2 win on October 21, 2009.
Break the ice: The Sabers took a 1-0 lead at 5:14 of a second as Jack Eichel sent home a Sam Reinhart pass from the right circle for his 19th goal of the season. Eichel has at least one point in eight of the last nine games.
Finally solve Florida: It was Eichel's first goal in 13 career games against the Panthers. Montreal is the only NHL team to score against her in her four seasons. Eichel has collected eight assists in 15 career games against the Habs.
Fast strikes: Florida tied the game at 3:07 of the third. Huberdeau scored his 14th game of the year, sliding a backhand on a breakaway between Ullmark's legs as Jake McCabe left and let Huberdeau skate unchallenged. Hawryluk scored the Panthers at 3:50 after a Casey Mittelstadt turn-over when Vincent Trocheck's shot hit the goal post, hit Florida's front mid-section and bounced back.
Captain Magic: Barkov, who may have scored the NHL season goal here on Sunday with a tally between Montreal's Carey Price, started a little more magic at 5:42 pm, passing between the legs to pull the puck around. Rasmus Dahlin then to slide it between Ullmark's legs until he gently passes on the line.
Without any goal: Eichel seemed to get Buffalo between 3-2 and 7:07 left, a perfect pass for Zach Bogosian – but the game was declared offside for a challenge. It was Eichel himself who was offside 15 seconds earlier, falling back into the zone without possession of the puck.
Observation Sobotka: Vladimir Sobotka scored with 7.9 seconds for the Sabers – his first total since 8 November.
Quiet first: There was no goal in the first 20 minutes and the Panthers beat Buffalo 12-6. It was a tough time for Ullmark, who made several saves closely, Florida having scored 11 of the first 14 shots of the match.
Changes on the defense: Matt Hunwick (lower body) was eliminated as a precaution and Nathan Beaulieu only played for the fifth time in 27 games and for the first time since January 30 in Dallas. Beaulieu was a partner of Lawrence Pilut. Zach Bogosian played with Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen played with Jake McCabe.
In the history booksJason Pominville played his 713th career game with the Sabers, taking eighth place in franchise history. Zemgus Girgensons played his 400th career game.
Following: The team flew to Tampa immediately after the match and will train Wednesday at Amalie Arena. The Sabers will meet the Lightning, leader of the league, at 19:30. Thursday. The Lightning is 9-0-2 in February and won its seventh consecutive game on Tuesday with a 5-2 win over Philadelphia.