Sabres ‘gut it out’ in win over Panthers, move to .500 on the year

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It wasn’t an oil painting from Buffalo, but it was good enough to get the win.

The Sabres won their third straight and fifth in their last seven on Thursday night, defeating the Panthers 3-2 in Florida to move to .500 on the year with an 8-8-0 record.

Buffalo wasn’t terrific, getting out-shot 38-19 and significantly outplayed in stretches. But unlike previous seasons, this year’s Sabres seem to have a resiliency and determination to grind out wins from less-than-stellar efforts, something head coach Dan Bylsma alluded to after the game.

“It wasn’t the strongest game from us in a lot of other areas,” Bylsma said, per the club website. “But we were able to gut it out, and get goals where we could get them.”

Buffalo got its goals from captain Brian Gionta — his first of the season — along with Sam Reinhart and Cody Franson. Reinhart’s third-period goal came on the power play, snapping a three-game pointless streak in the process.

Florida, meanwhile, also saw one of its skaters score his first of the year: Jonathan Huberdeau, the former Calder winner that’d been snakebitten through his first 15 games. The Panthers also got a goal from Vincent Trocheck late in the third, a frame in which they put 13 shots on Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark.

Speaking of Ullmark, he put forth another solid effort by stopping 36 of 38 shots. The Swedish ‘tender is now an impressive 4-2-0 on the year, with a .924 save percentage and 2.45 GAA.