SUNRISE, Fla. -- In 11 games entering Friday, the Buffalo Sabres enjoyed a lead for a combined total of less than 10 minutes.
That's astonishing, but the Sabres were able to chip away a bit at that negative trend Friday night.
Sabres captain Steve Ott scored with 7:18 left in the third period and Buffalo held on from there to get a rare win, beating the Florida Panthers 3-1 at the BB&T Center.
"We were able to get a couple of point shots through, and on both goals we had some good net presence," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.
The Sabres entered Friday with the worst record in the NHL at 1-9-1. Their only previous win came in a shootout.
On the winning goal, defenseman Christian Enrhoff put a slap shot on net while Ott, creating traffic in front, got the tip to make it 2-1.
"There was a wide open lane for me to go out on front," Ott said. "I was lucky enough to get a tip on it."
Sabres backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth, giving Ryan Miller a night off, took it from there and finished the night with 44 saves.
"'Jhony' was excellent for us, especially early on to keep us in the game," Rolston said. "He's been great all year. He's given us a chance to win, just like (Miller) does every night."
Enroth, who hadn't played in a week and a half, said he was tired but ready to go Saturday at Tampa if he is needed. Mostly, though, he was just grateful the Sabres got the late goal.
"That was a huge goal for us," he said. "Usually we give up a goal with a couple minutes left. Hopefully we can build on that."
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said he was impressed with Enroth's performance on Friday.
"Jhonas played for me for two years in Portland," Dineen said. "I know what his capabilities are, and I also know his weaknesses. That's as well as I've ever seen him play."
Cody Hodgson added an empty-net goal with 46.6 seconds left. He has one goal in each of his past three games.
Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom took the loss, making 18 saves. Markstrom was upset the Panthers lost despite outshooting their opponent 45-20.
"This was definitely a tough loss," Markstrom said. "We played a great game, absolutely a great game defensively and offensively. The only thing that was missing was the goals. Their goalie played a hell of a game."
Early on, though, it looked light it would be the Panthers' night.
With 6:02 left in the first period, Sean Bergenheim made his presence felt, streaking down the left side and feeding Jesse Winchester in front. Winchester hit it out of the air for a goal and a 1-0 lead.
"That goal was one out of a hundred," Enroth said. "I had no chance. I don't think they could do that play again. It was a very good play by them but a little bit lucky, too."
Bergenheim, a left winger, was playing his first game since the end of the 2012 season due to abdominal and hip surgeries.
The Panthers ended the first period with an 18-4 advantage in shots on goal. The second period was more of the same, as the Panthers outshot the Sabres, 16-10.
But with 6:28 left in the second period, the Sabres broke through with a goal by Rasmus Ristolainen, his first of the season, to tie the score at 1. The assists went to Thomas Vanek and Jamie McBain.
"Maybe the reason why I scored was there were a couple of guys in front of their goalie," Ristolainen said. "We really needed that win."
The Sabres play at Tampa on Saturday before returning home for Monday's game against Dallas. The Panthers (3-7-1) are just 1-2-1 so far in their six-game homestand that continues Sunday against Tampa.
NOTES: Panthers veteran G Scott Clemmensen is back on the team as a reserve. He takes the roster spot of G Tim Thomas, who is on injured reserve through at least this weekend due to a groin injury. ... Panthers D Ed Jovanovski (hip) is also on injured reserve. ... RW Corey Tropp (jaw) and LW Ville Leino (rib) of the Sabres are on the injured list. ... LW John Scott and RW Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres are serving suspensions. ... The Panthers took two of the three meetings from the Sabres last season, with C Shawn Matthias scoring three goals in the series. Matthias, though, has no goals this season. ... RW Scottie Upshall was inactive for the Panthers on Friday, benched in favor of the return of LW Bergenheim
By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: October 25, 2013 11:08:50 PM
Sabres top Panthers to record rare win
|All Times Eastern|