SUNRISE, Fla. – For the second consecutive game, the Florida Panthers chased a starting goalie with a quick start—and this time, they didn’t squander their early lead.
Marty Reasoner scored two first-period goals to help the Panthers build a 4-0 lead and they went on to a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
The Panthers were coming off a 4-3 loss to Carolina where they led 3-0 after the first period.
“I think it almost helped us in a way,” Reasoner said. “It made us that much more determined, seeing what can happen if we let down. Every time they kind of pushed, we responded pretty well. It’s a good sign.”
Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Bryan McCabe and David Booth had the other Florida goals, while Shawn Matthias, Evgeny Dadonov and Chris Higgins each had two assists.
“Yeah, I thought about it,” Weiss said, referring to the loss against Carolina. “I’m sure it went through everyone’s head. But I think that’s a sign of a team that’s finally starting to learn from our mistakes. In this league, you can’t worry about the score. Whether you’re up, you’re down, you’ve just got to stick with the plan and do what you do for 60 minutes and at the end of the night you’ll see where you’re at.”
Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves for Florida.
Derek Roy and Tim Connolly scored for Buffalo, which was 4-1-1 in its previous six games.
“I thought we had some guys that skated very poorly,” said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. “We didn’t have the energy we normally have and it showed up. Our attack, our north-south, we were a step behind.”
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was pulled after the first period after giving up four goals on only 10 shots. Patrick Lalime stopped 14 of 16 shots in the last two periods.
The Panthers chased Carolina goalie Cam Ward Wednesday night after taking a 2-0 lead only 1:42 into the game.
“No attention to detail,” Miller said. “We played right into their game plan. Didn’t adjust. After a horrible start, it was a boring game after that. Pathetic.”
Reasoner’s first goal came at 8:23 and gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead. He took a pass from Dadonov behind the net, skated to the right faceoff circle and fired a shot that went in off the skate of Sabres defenceman Steve Montador.
Reasoner made it 3-0 at 14:08 after Jason Garrison’s shot from the point was wide of the net and bounced off the boards. Reasoner one-timed the carom past Miller from a sharp angle.
The two goals snapped an 11-game drought for Reasoner, who hasn’t recorded a hat trick in his 12-year career.
“Yeah, it’s been a little bit,” Reasoner said. “I felt like we were getting close, getting some chances, it just wasn’t going in. It’s nice to finally get one and then I think the confidence just grows from that.
“I think I would have overstepped my bounds with three. Two is kind of the limit.”
Booth completed the first-period outburst with a power-play goal as the Sabres were being called for another penalty. He took a back pass from Frolik and deked Miller to his forehand.
The four goals matched Florida’s season high for any period this season and were the most given up by Buffalo.
The teams traded goals late in the second period and early in the third. But this game was decided in the first 20 minutes.
“We chased a couple of the best (goalies) in the business from the net,” said Panthers coach Pete DeBoer. “That doesn’t happen too often with us. We’ll take it. We got another quick start, and this time we managed to finish it off.”
Notes: Buffalo came into the game having given up four or more goals in only 11 of its first 31 games. … The Panthers improved to 8-0 when scoring four or more. … Sabres D Shaone Morrisonn missed his fifth consecutive game because of a concussion. … The Sabres had won their last three games at Florida.