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SUNRISE (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Panthers may finally be hitting their stride, but it may be too little too late.
Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
The win brought Florida to within nine points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 24 games to go.
Certainly not an impossible feat, even with four teams to climb over, but it’s not a situation you want to find yourself in, year after year.
Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists, Jayce Hawryluk also scored and Frank Vatrano had two assists for the Panthers. James Reimer made 32 saves in his third straight start. The Panthers won their third straight and are 9-4-0 in their past 13 games.
Jack Eichel and Vladimir Sobotka scored for the Sabres and Linus Ullmark stopped 37 shots. Buffalo has lost three straight games.
Trailing 1-0, the Panthers scored three goals in 2:35 of the third.
Huberdeau tied it when his shot from the low slot went between Ullmark’s pads at 3:07. Florida went ahead after Vincent Trocheck’s shot caromed off the post and bounced off Hawryluk and into the net at 3:50. Barkov tucked the puck from in close behind Ullmark at 5:42 to make it 3-1.
Huberdeau’s second goal with 3:25 left stretched the lead to 4-1.
Sobotka poked in the puck with 7.9 seconds left for the final margin.
The Sabres had a goal disallowed with 7:07 left when it was ruled they were offsides after the Panthers challenged.
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Eichel, who redirected a pass from Sam Reinhart into the net at 5:14 of the second.
NOTES: Sabres F Kyle Okposo is out with a concussion. … C Zemgus Girgensons played in his 400th NHL game. … D Marco Scandella is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. … Panthers D Mike Matheson left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. … G Roberto Luongo returned from bereavement leave and backed up Reimer.k … C Mike Hoffman played in his 400th NHL game.
Sabres: At Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
Panthers: Host Carolina on Thursday night.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)