You can't argue with their effort over the final two periods, but a lousy first period cost the Buffalo Sabres another game at KeyBank Center on Thursday night.  The Sabres gave up three goals in the opening 20 minutes, two of them on the power play, and that was enough for the Florida Panthers to beat the Sabres 4-2.

Ryan O'Reilly got the Sabres off to a good start with his 14th goal of the season, 8th on the power play and the Sabres were looking good, but a string of four straight undisciplined penalties really hurt.  Two penalties five seconds apart gave the Panthers a 5 on 3 power play and they cashed in to tie the game.  The Panthers scored again on the power play to take the lead for good and a botched defensive play allowed Florida to go up 3-1 and essentially that's all the Panthers needed.

Zemgus Girgensons scored a shorthanded goal early in the second period to come within one and the Sabres put on consistent pressure over the final two periods.  They dominated at times with so many great chances, but too many of their shots went wide or high or were blocked.

Frustrations boiled over at the end of the game with a number of battles on the ice involving Evander Kane, Jake McCabe, Kyle Okposo and Johan Larsson.  Kane and Larsson both drew five minute penalties and Larsson could face additional discipline from the league for a high stick.

So four months into the season the Sabres have won only six games at KeyBank Arena and the schedule doesn't get any easier.  The Sabres host St. Louis on Saturday, Anaheim on Tuesday and the New York Islanders next Thursday.