|Date of game: 2/28/2015
Recap: Florida vs. Buffalo
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jaromir Jagr got all the headlines prior to his Panthers debut, but it was Brandon Pirri starring for Florida on Saturday after missing the previous nine games with an upper-body injury.
In just 83 seconds, Pirri scored a pair of power play goals to get Florida on track to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Florida also received goals from Nick Bjugstad, Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie while Jagr was scoreless with three shots on goal.
Roberto Luongo was not busy and made 11 saves to help the Panthers improve to 1-1-0 on their seven-game homestand.
"Against a team like Buffalo who hasn't had the best year, those are games you gotta win," said Upshall.
The Sabres lost their first two-game winning streak in 2015 despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead with first-period goals from Cody Hodgson and Andrej Meszaros. Torrey Mitchell also lit the lamp for Buffalo.
Michal Neuvirth allowed four Panthers goals but made 42 saves in the setback.
After failing to cash in on their first four power-play attempts, the Panthers finally got on the board near the midpoint of the second period. Florida had a 5-on-3 for six seconds, and Pirri made them count, firing a one-timer past Neuvirth to cut Florida's deficit to one.
Pirri then scored a similar goal with the leftover 5-on-4 time. He was again set up by Brian Campbell for a slap shot that found the back of the net and tied the game.
"Our discipline wasn't there tonight," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan. "We just kind of ran out of gas."
Late in the period, Florida took its first lead on Bjugstad's goal. Jussi Jokinen protected the puck before sliding a pass to Bjugstad in the slot for a quick shot through Neuvirth's pads.
Past the midpoint of the final period and being outshot badly, the Sabres tied the game. The defense lost Mitchell in the slot, and Matt Moulson made them pay by setting up Mitchell for a one-timer that beat Luongo.
However, the tie was brief. Just 68 seconds later, Upshall beat Matt Ellis for position in the circle, took a pass from MacKenzie and wristed the puck by Neuvirth.
MacKenzie got on the board himself in the final minute with an empty-net goal.
The Sabres did not even need three minutes to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Zach Bogosian could not get his pass all the way to Hodgson's stick, but Hodgson jumped on the loose puck and ripped it into the net for the opening goal.
Not even five minutes later, Meszaros added to the Buffalo lead. He carried the puck through the neutral zone himself, avoiding several Panthers before wristing a shot through Luongo's pads.Game Notes
Counting regular season and postseason play, Saturday was the 1,732nd game in
Jagr's NHL career but just the 1,674th game in Panthers franchise history ...
Florida has earned points in eight straight meetings with Buffalo ... The
Sabres are being outscored 80-40 in third-period action ... Campbell played in
his 900th NHL regular-season game.