Buffalo 2 – Tampa 1
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Tampa Bay Times Forum
TAMPA – The Buffalo Sabres turned the tables on the NHL’s most offensive team on Tuesday to bring an end to their four-game losing streak with a hard-fought 2-1 victory. In addition to snapping the losing skid, the win was also the first for interim head coach Ron Rolston, in his third game since taking over for Lindy Ruff last Wednesday.
Tampa Bay came into the game with a league-high 69 goals scored, with their 33 third-period goals also tops in the NHL. Not only did the Sabres limit them to just one goal on the night, they held the Lightning off the scoresheet in the third after Tyler Myers scored what would end up being the game winner just 52 seconds into the final stanza.
The win gives Buffalo 15 points (7-12-1), and moves them one ahead of Florida for 14th spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers are Buffalo’s next Sunshine State opponent this Thursday in Sunrise.
Ryan Miller was outstanding in the Buffalo net, making 30 saves, including 26 over the final two periods. For his efforts he was named the game’s first star.
Myers and Cody Hodgson scored for Buffalo, while Steven Stamkos’ league-leading 14th goal was the only shot to elude Miller all night.
For the 11th time this season the opposition got on the board first, and this time it came from the stick of the red-hot Stamkos. The initial shot from the slot from Teddy Purcell was stopped by Miller, but Stamkos scored on the rebound just 1:24 into the game. The goal extended Stamkos’ goal-scoring streak to six games, the longest such streak in the NHL this season.
Moments after Benoit Pouliot nearly put the Bolts up by a pair with shot off the crossbar, Hodgson evened the score at 1-1 when his backhand pass from behind the Lightning net deflected off Sami Salo’s skate and past a diving Mathieu Garon at 10:02. It was Hodgson’s eighth goal of the year.
There was no scoring in the second period, but penalties were the story as Buffalo handed Tampa three more power play opportunities – including 46 seconds of five-on-three time with Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford in the box. The Lightning were able to generate six shots on goal with the man advantage, but Miller held the Sabres in the game with numerous saves, including three on Stamkos. Miller’s biggest save of the period was a sliding glove grab to his left on Alex Killorn just as Myers’ penalty expired.
It took less than a minute for the Sabres to get their first lead of the game. After Thomas Vanek’s deke attempt went wide, he scooped up the loose puck behind the Tampa net and sent it out front where Myers buried 38-foot wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle for what would prove to be the eventual game-winning goal.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Two of Tyler Myers’ three goals this season have been game winners… The Sabres have now killed 17 straight penalties against the Lightning, and have not allowed a Tampa Bay power play goal since Feb. 8, 2011… Andrej Sekera’s first period assist was his first point since scoring a goal against Toronto on January 29… This was the 75th all-time game between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo leads the series with a 48-22-5 record. They are 26-9-3 on the road against the Lightning.
Jordan Leopold missed his third straight game with an upper body injury… T.J. Brennan and John Scott were healthy scratches for the second game in a row… Ville Leino (hip, 20 games) and Alexander Sulzer (lower body, 1 game) are both on IR.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Robyn Regehr, 24:07
Shots: Nathan Gerbe, 3
Blocked Shots: Patrick Kaleta, 3
Hits: Steve Ott, 4
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 10
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 18 (10-8)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
* Opponent Scoring First: 2-8-1
* Tied after the first period: 5-6-1
* Tied after the second period: 4-4-0
* Outshot by an opponent: 5-9-0
Overall: 8/72, 11.1%
Road: 1/34, 2.9%
Overall: 67/83, 80.7%
Road: 43/50, 86%
* Thursday @ Florida, 7:30 p.m.
* Saturday vs. New Jersey 3 p.m.
* Sunday @ NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m.