The Buffalo Sabres gave one of their better defensive efforts Tuesday, winning 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Sabres reverted to familiar form in the first period, allowing the Lightning to score on their first shot of the game. Just 86 seconds in, the Bolts gained control of the puck for the first time, and Steven Stamkos converted a Teddy Purcell pass to give Tampa the 1-0 lead. That was his league-leading 14th goal of the year.
But the Lightning didn't strike again. Cody Hodgson tied the game halfway through the first, pouncing on a loose puck behind the net and deflecting it off netminder Mathieu Garon and in. Neither team did much else in the period, with each side only getting off five shots.
No one scored in the second period, but Tampa wasn't lacking for chances. Buffalo was able to keep Tampa's power play in check throughout the first half of the game, which saw the Bolts fail to convert five man advantages (Tampa went 0-for-6 for the game on the power play). So much time with the extra man helped Tampa get off 14 second-period shots, compared to 10 for Buffalo.
Tyler Myers (somewhat) made up for numerous defensive lapses and giveaways by scoring the game-winning goal in the third period. He pinched in from the point and rifled a shot in only 52 seconds from there. Ryan Miller did the rest, stopping 12 shots in the frame and 30 for the game to preserve the win.
The win improved Buffalo's record to 7-12-1 and gave interim coach Ron Rolston his first NHL win in his third game:
"It was great, especially the way it was done, the battle level and competitive level was really high tonight."
Vanek had two assists on the night. Miller recorded his 259th NHL victory, tying him with the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist for 41st in league history.
Tampa falls to 9-9-1. With 19 points, Tampa is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference – meaning that Buffalo, for all its ills, is only four points out of the playoffs.
The Sabres wrap up their Florida swing Thursday night in Miami against the Panthers.
Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL
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