BUFFALO — Linus Ullmark made 41 saves for the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-2 shootout win against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center on Friday.
Mike Hoffman scored for the Panthers with 11 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game 2-2.
“We never hesitated,” Ullmark said. “We stayed calm on the bench. No one got upset, or anything like that. We just thought about what happened, let it go, go in there and try to get those two points.”
[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Sabres highlights]
Johan Larsson and Marco Scandella scored, and Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons each had two assists for the Sabres (4-0-1), who have points in five straight games to start a season for the first time since 2009-10, when they also started 4-0-1.
Evgenii Dadonov scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Florida (1-2-1).
“I thought we had a good third period, we had a good first as well,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “Second, they had the puck more than us, but I thought it was a good battling-back effort. An interesting end to that overtime, but Bob made some huge saves for us, we had some good looks ourselves.”
Larsson gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead when he received a pass through the slot from Okposo and shot it blocker side with 31 seconds remaining in the second period.
Okposo set up Scandella at the inner edge of the left face-off circle to make it 2-0 at 2:02 of the third period.
“I’ve never seen a bench cheer so much for another line having success,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said of Okposo, Larsson and Girgensons. “The entire bench just erupted on both of the goals. To see all that hard work, the grinding they’ve been doing the first five games is paying off so big tonight. They were certainly the ones that were cheered now in the locker room after the game. We’re just pleased they got some offensive return for all that effort.”
The Panthers pressed in the third, outshooting the Sabres 19-4. It paid off at 6:15 when Dadonov scored from the edge of the crease to cut it to 2-1.
“We started to play a little more desperate, we started to play a way that we intended to all game, getting pucks on net, starting to hold on to pucks, making plays,” Hoffman said. “We’ve just got to do that for a full 60 minutes, just not the last five, six minutes when we need a goal.”
They said it
“It’s a huge point for us. Obviously, we could clean up some things, but I thought the boys stepped up and showed character and got back to the point.” — Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
“It’s a big two points. I thought there were definitely swings in momentum. We’ve got to try to find a way to finish that game in regulation. (Goalie) Linus [Ullmark] really did a heck of a job, especially in the third period there. He stood on his head and gave us a chance to get those two points.” — Sabres forward Kyle Okposo
Need to know
Jonathan Huberdeau played in his 471st NHL game, tying him with Jay Bouwmeester for 10th place in Panthers history. … Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin‘s season-opening point streak (one goal, six assists) ended at four games. … The Sabres have won three straight at home to start a season for the first time since 2008-09.
Panthers: At the New York Islanders on Saturday (Nassau Coliseum; 7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Sabres: Host the Dallas Stars on Monday (3 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-SW, NHL.TV)