BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sabres captain Brian Gionta scored while playing his 1,000th career game and Buffalo beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Monday night.
Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Sabres, who led 3-0 after Gionta’s goal 1:25 into the second period. The goal drew a large cheer from the crowd after the 15-year NHL veteran was honored during a pregame ceremony.
Gionta received a pass to the left of the net, then cut across the crease, drawing goalie James Reimer out of position. After Gionta’s first attempt was denied by Reilly Smith, he flipped a bad-angle shot toward the net that deflected in off the hands of defenseman Jason Demers.
Robin Lehner stopped 30 shots, including punching his glove hand out to get a piece of Smith’s backhander on a penalty shot 5:23 into the third period. Buffalo improved to 4-1 in its past five and earned its 76th point to move one back of the 13th-place Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.