Tampa Bay Lightning Strike Twice Late to Beat Buffalo Sabres, 3-2 October 26th, 2013 at 11:40 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101
The Buffalo Sabres enjoyed about a minute and a half of bliss Saturday night, briefly enjoying a third-period lead before the Tampa Bay Lightning scored two goals less than two minutes apart to claim a 3-2 win. The game saw two struggling offensive stalwarts sit for a good chunk of the game as Buffalo unsuccessfully tried to string together its first winning streak of the season.
Once again, the Sabres were flat coming out of the locker room to start the game. Tampa outshot Buffalo 12-6 and opened the scoring 12:48 in, when Tyler Johnson stuffed home a rebound on the power play.
The Sabres tied the game about 13 minutes into the second period. Cody McCormick feathered a pass through the goal crease, and Brian Flynn easily tapped the puck past a fallen Ben Bishop. Ville Leino also assisted on the goal in his first game back from injury.
Drew Stafford and Cody Hodgson struggled through much of the first two periods and sat for the third period. The reshuffled top line put together the play of the night 12:46 into the third when Zemgus Girgensons passed the puck from center ice to Marcus Foligno in the Tampa zone. Foligno charged the net to the right and then fed Thomas Vanek, who one-timed the puck past Bishop.
The Sabres' lead only lasted about 80 seconds, however. Martin St. Louis tied the game at the 14:09 mark, and Ondrej Palat took advantage of a scrum in front of Ryan Miller about two minutes later to give Tampa the lead for good. Tampa outshot Buffalo 12-3 in the third to seize control of the game.
Stafford only played 12:33 Saturday and Hodgson 12:10. Coach Ron Rolston was angry at both players after the game for their lackluster effort:
"Your best players have to be your best players. At the end of the day, that's what's got to happen."
Miller made 36 saves in defeat. McCormick recorded his second assist in two games. Bishop stopped 20 saves to get the win.
Buffalo fell to 2-10-1, while Tampa improved to 7-3-0. Buffalo next hosts former coach Lindy Ruff and the Dallas Stars on Monday.
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