In the shootout, the hockey gods obliged.
Right winger Brad Boyes scored the winning goal in the shootout — which ricocheted off the left post and hit Buffalo goalie Jhonas
Enroth before going into the net — to lead the Panthers to a 2-1
victory over the Sabres on Thursday night.
"That's irony, I guess. Some luck," Boyes said. "It kind of went the
other way a lot of times. But finally the luck sort of shifted."
Boyes also scored Florida's only goal in regulation.
It was a deserving win for the Panthers (17-21-6), who had the upper
hand but were the recipient of unfortunate luck throughout the game.
Boyes put the puck past Enroth with 6:53 remaining in regulation,
but play on the ice was stopped because of an injury to Panthers
defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
Left winger Jonathan Huberdeau also put the puck into the net on his
shootout attempt, but the goal was called off after referees ruled
that Enroth was pushed into the net. Upon video replay, Enroth did
not appear to be pushed into the net.
"I think that ultimately the goal, Boyes' goal in the period, should
have counted or there should have been a four-minute penalty, one or
the other," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said.
"I thought Hubey's goal in the shootout should have counted. ... But
that's the way it goes. Sometimes it works that way and sometimes it
doesn't. You hope that it works out in the right way, the way that
you'd wanted it to so maybe it just worked out in our favor the way
it's supposed to."
Boyes, one of the best shootout performers in the league, changed up
his approach on the game-winner because of his experience against
Enroth. Boyes played with Enroth in Buffalo from 2010 to 2012.
"Being here and going against him in practice a lot, he was showing
me glove," Boyes said. "He was kinda waving it to me like he was
onto me and he knows where I go. So I tried to change it up a bit. I
have trouble with guys that I played with so it was nice to get it
Enroth said, "He's obviously one of the best in the league at
shootouts. It's pretty much impossible to stop him in shootouts. It
was a great shot. I've got to give it to him."
Goalie Tim Thomas had 23 saves for Florida (17-21-6) and was perfect
in the shootout.
Defenseman Jamie McBain scored in regulation for Buffalo (12-26-5).
[to top of second column]
Enroth was solid between the pipes and finished with 34
saves, but the Sabres continue to struggle at providing him
support. In 13 starts, the Sabres have just 17 goals with Enroth
"Almost every game he's played for us, he's given us a chance to
play," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "I thought tonight,
he was sensational. Any game that your goaltender can probably
steal a game, tonight was probably one of those nights, and we
just didn't give him too much help in front."
Boyes tied the score at 1 on a deflection shortly before the
midway point of the third period. After a failed clearance by
Buffalo defenseman Alexander Sulzer, the puck slowly found its
way to defenseman Tom Gilbert inside the right circle, who
blasted a slap shot that was redirected by Boyes into the net at
9:16. It was Boyes' team-leading 12th goal of the year.
McBain opened the scoring 5:13 into the second period on his
third goal of the season. Uncovered in the slot, McBain put a
strong wrist shot past Thomas on the blocker side after a feed
from Buffalo captain Steve Ott.
It was the first game for Buffalo since Tim Murray was named
general manager of the Sabres on Thursday morning. Murray, the
nephew of Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, has 20 years of NHL experience
and was most recently an assistant general manager with the
Even with the loss, the Sabres have collected a point in eight
consecutive home games — but the performance didn't sit well
with Nolan afterward.
"We didn't pursue the puck," Nolan said. "We didn't make any
good plays. We were just there. When you play in front of
whoever you play in front of, you're not going to win.
"Tonight was just one of those games you just want to forget
NOTES: This was Panthers D Brian Campbell's 800th NHL game.
Campbell originally entered the NHL as a sixth-round pick of the
Sabres in 1997. ... D Tyler Myers (suspension), LW Ville Leino
(lower body) and C Mikhail Grigorenko were scratched for the
Sabres. Myers missed the first of three games because of a
suspension for an illegal hit to the head. Sabres RW Drew
Stafford was placed on injured reserve. ... C Shawn Matthias, D
Mike Mottau and C Scott Gomez were scratched for the Panthers
... This was the 100th NHL game for Buffalo LW Marcus Foligno.
... Earlier Thursday, the NHL announced that the Sabres and the
Carolina Hurricanes will play Feb. 25 to make up for the game
that was postponed Tuesday because of a blizzard. The game will
take place on the final day of the 17-day NHL Olympic break.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.