Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 10/20/14

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29: Ed Jovanovski #55 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com Arena on December 29, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 3-2 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. – When told how bad the Florida Panthers' offensive performance looked Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Ed Jovanovski looked at the writer, smiled and asked, "Was it that bad?"

Well, yes.

Jovanovski was correct in that Florida "had spurts" in the Panthers' 7-round 3-2 shootout win over the Sabres, but those were rare. The Cats were economical on offense, scoring on its first two shots on goal, but the first one didn't come until over 17 minutes into the game on Mikael Samuelsson's power-play tally. John Madden added his second goal this season -- and second in as many games -- 38 seconds later.

Then the ugliness began. While Florida (35-23-13) rattled off 12 shots in the second, none beat Buffalo's Ryan Miller. The third period and overtime were woefully atrocious offensively, though Florida's defense did hold the Sabres to only four shots -- not the hockey that endears itself to highlights on NHL Tonight. Other than Buffalo's 3-on-1 breakout in the third, which was broken up by a sliding Mike Weaver, not much happened when a player had the puck on his stick.

Florida eked out a season-low 17 shots on goal, including just one in the 25 minutes that made up the third period and overtime. The number broke the previous low of 19 in a 4-1 win over the Islanders Feb. 12.

"Not every game is going to go as drawn up," Madden said. "Sometimes the shot clock doesn't always show the truth. We had the zone time, we passed up some shots for whatever reason...(but) you take the good out of this game and keep moving forward."

And the good ultimately outweighed the bad. Goalie Jose Theodore, making his seventh consecutive start, ran his recent record to 5-1-1 by doing something Florida hasn't done much all season: Winning a shootout. After giving up Tyler Ennis's tying goal in the second round, which matched Wojtek Wolski's, Theodore was brilliant against Jason Pominville (45.5 shootout percentage this year), Cody Hodgson (42.9 career), Brad Boyes (46.8 career), Derek Roy (35.7 career) and Drew Stafford (31.3 career). Theodore stopped six of the seven shootout attempts in the win.

"It was a great two points for us. Theo was again the best player out there who gave us a chance to get that extra point," Jovanovski said.

Playing in his first game since January, Dmitry Kulikov admitted he was "a little lucky" on his game-winning goal after flipping a backhander past Miller. The Russian defenseman, who missed 23 games with a knee injury, is 2-for-3 in shootouts with a pair of game-winners, but he quickly pointed to Theodore's play, particularly on the game-saving stop against Stafford to end it.

"We have confidence in Theo that he'd make that save. He's a good goalie," Kulikov said, simply.

A teacher giving the Panthers a grade for Saturday's performance might have been generous and handed out a C-, but some of the ones I had in high school would likely have written D in a giant red scrawl -- truly my scarlet letter. I'd have then been begging for an extra credit assignment on some current event or former president.

These Panthers didn't need extra credit, just extra time. Florida didn't bring its A game like it did against the Bruins two nights earlier, stole one point by taking the game to OT, then added thievery by getting another with spectacular goaltending and a big-time play from a key player making his return to the lineup.

That's what good teams do: Win when they don't play their best.

By Bill Whitehead
Florida Panthers Credentialed Correspondent
Hockey Columnist
Twitter: @BillWhiteheadFL
Email: BillWhiteheadFL@hotmail.com

Photo credit: Getty Images
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Five most surprising NFL players through seven weeks

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.