Tampa Bay 2 – Buffalo 1
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Tampa Bay Times Forum
TAMPA – The Buffalo Sabres landed in Florida early Sunday morning, riding a wave of emotion and a three-game winning streak courtesy of a pair of road wins in Montreal last week. That all came to a screeching halt on Tuesday night.
Steven Stamkos had one goal and one assist, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Sabres at the Tampa Bay Times, temporarily stalling Buffalo’s late-season push for a playoff spot. The loss drops Buffalo to 13-16-4 (30 pts.), with 15 games left to play.
Buffalo was forced to finish the game without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who didn’t return after sustaining an upper-body injury in the third period. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday.
Jordan Leopold’s second goal of the season in the third period was the only puck the Sabres were able to put past Mathieu Garon.
Interim head coach Ron Rolston had no answers afterwards when asked how his players could come out so flat in such a crucial stretch of the schedule. “There wasn’t a lot of urgency in anything tonight,” Rolston stated.
When asked further by reporters what he thought the specific issues were, Rolston said, “That’s a good question … did you ask the players? What did they say?”
Jason Pominville was among the players searching for answers.
“I don’t think we created enough,” explained Pominville. “We actually had some pretty good looks. I had a really good look, and Tyler might’ve had a couple. But we weren’t able to put them away. Overall offensively we didn’t generate enough to win a game.”
The out-of-town scoreboard wasn’t kind to the Sabres on Tuesday, with both Toronto and the New York Rangers winning in regulation. Ryan Miller knows they can’t rely on other teams to falter in order to help them gain ground in the standings.
“No one is going to help us, we need to get two points every night,” Miller said. “Tonight’s first two periods didn’t speak to what we’ve been trying to do lately. It goes to show that we lost the game because of it.”
The Sabres conclude their two-game swing through the Sunshine State on Thursday with a stop in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers.
1-0 TB: NHL leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos scored the game’s first goal, his second in as many games against Buffalo this season. Martin St. Louis curled out from the corner and fed Stamkos in the slot. His one-timer at 16:01 gives him a league-best 23 in 33 games.
2-0 TB: The Lightning upped their lead to 2-0 at 8:15 of the second period as the Sabres were trying to kill off a five-on-three situation with Robyn Regehr and Mike Weber in the box. Teddy Purcell found St. Louis at the faceoff dot to Miller’s left, and the veteran’s power play blast gave the Lightning a two-goal cushion.
2-1 TB: Buffalo didn’t get on the board until late in regulation when Leopold wired a shot past Mathieu Garon from the top of the faceoff circle at 16:52. Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno picked up the assists.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
The Sabres have had 12 of their last 14 games decided by one goal. Buffalo is 6-3-3 in those 12 games and 9-8-4 in their 21 one-goal games this season… 76th game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo leads the series with a 49-22-5 record; 26-10-3 on the road against the Lightning… Tyler Ennis had his four-game point streak (2+4) come to an end tonight… The Sabres also failed to score a power play goal for the first time in five games.
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scores First: 4-12-1
Trailing after the first period: 1-8-0
Trailing after the second period: 2-12-2
Outshot by an opponent: 10-11-1
Overall: 15/120, 12.5%
Road: 7/63, 11.1%
Overall: 101/130, 77.7%
Road: 67/84, 79.8%
* Thursday @ Florida, 7:30 p.m.
* Saturday vs. Washington, 7 p.m.
* Sunday vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.