SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS: Sabres fall 2-1 in Tampa

Kevin Snow  - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

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.

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.

Drew Stafford
was a healthy scratch for the second straight game… Andrej Sekera missed his fifth game with an upper body injury… John Scott was also a healthy scratch.

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

Power Play
Tonight: 0/4
Overall: 15/120, 12.5%
Road: 7/63, 11.1%

Penalty Killing
Tonight: 4/5
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.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
16:01TBL Steven Stamkos (23) ASST: Martin St. Louis (34), Cory Conacher (15) 1 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
08:15TBL PPG - Martin St. Louis (8) ASST: Teddy Purcell (19), Steven Stamkos (20) 2 - 0 TBL
3rd Period
16:52BUF Jordan Leopold (2) ASST: Marcus Foligno (10), Brian Flynn (2) 2 - 1 TBL
Three Stars of the Game
Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 4
+/-: 1TOI: 19:48
Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 21:28
Keith Aulie
Keith Aulie
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 0PIM: 5
+/-: 0TOI: 9:13
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:43TBL Steven Stamkos  Cross checking against  Patrick Kaleta
02:43BUF Patrick Kaleta  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Steven Stamkos
02:43TBL Steven Stamkos  Roughing against  Patrick Kaleta
07:26BUF Steve Ott  Tripping against  Radko Gudas
13:41TBL Cory Conacher  Tripping against  Jason Pominville
20:00TBL Tyler Johnson  Hooking against  Patrick Kaleta
2nd Period
07:13BUF Robyn Regehr  Elbowing against  Dana Tyrell
07:13TBL Keith Aulie  Fighting (maj) against  Marcus Foligno
07:13BUF Marcus Foligno  Fighting (maj) against  Keith Aulie
07:42BUF Mike Weber  Boarding against  Alex Killorn
3rd Period
04:28BUF Christian Ehrhoff  Hooking against  Richard Panik
11:46TBL Victor Hedman  Hooking against  Tyler Ennis
14:05BUF Mike Weber  Tripping against  Martin St. Louis
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/41/5
Faceoff Wins1734
Blocked Shots917
Penalty Minutes1715
3J. LeopoldD1001019:07
6M. WeberD0000416:35
9S. OttC0001219:22
10C. EhrhoffD0002226:59
12K. PorterC0010011:34
19C. HodgsonC00-10018:53
23V. LeinoL0002016:06
24R. RegehrD0000216:58
26T. VanekL0000013:29
29J. PominvilleR0001020:50
36P. KaletaR00-10211:03
42N. GerbeC00-10010:30
53M. PysykD0011014:06
55J. HechtC0002011:52
57T. MyersD00-10020:16
63T. EnnisC0002019:17
65B. FlynnC0112011:16
82M. FolignoL0110512:28
30R. Miller2325.92059:17
2E. BrewerD00-12022:03
3K. AulieD000159:13
6S. SaloD0010022:13
11T. PyattC0001010:29
16T. PurcellL0100014:54
17A. KillornC0003021:31
25M. CarleD0001024:04
26M. St. LouisR1115021:28
42D. TyrellC00-10015:21
44N. ThompsonC00-12018:20
63T. JohnsonC0000214:50
67B. PouliotL00-1109:03
71R. PanikL0004010:51
74O. PalatL0000015:19
75R. GudasD00-11015:38
77V. HedmanD0010220:37
89C. ConacherC011026:20
91S. StamkosC1114419:48
32M. Garon1314.92959:58