Game Recap: Sabres dominate first two periods, lose to league leading Lightning.

Sabres stumble late in third period;Lightning win third in a row.

Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Steven Stamkos and the Lighting (35-8-2) break a 3-3 tie, late in the third period for another win in Buffalo on Saturday night.

Stamkos, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Ryan Callahan all scored for the Lightning in route to a 5-3 win, while Louis Dominque made 30 saves.

The Sabres (23-16-6) lose their second in a row with Sam Reinhart, Tage Thompson and Marco Scandella adding to the score sheet, while Linus Ullmark made 25 saves.

Period 1

Lightning strike quick with a quick one right after an offensive faceoff 26 seconds into the game.

“We’ve gone through this really good stretch and there’s just been different ways of winning. We’ve been down a goal, down three goals, up a bunch; there’s just that comfort level on the bench. Just stick with it. It might not always go our way as much as we’d like it to but we’re going to find a way.” said Stamkos.

The Sabres added pressure after the first goal which resulted in a power play.

Sabres had good entries and cycled the puck well, during the power play, but didn’t convert with the mad advantage. The Sabres kept the pressure on, when the PP expired with a beautiful chance in front of the crease in slot by Rasmus Ristolainen.

Reinhart evens the score at 1-1 with a nice wrister from the slot about 50 ft from the net.

“We’re right in the hunt, that’s where we wanted to be at the start of the year. We’ve got to embrace that challenge and get back to putting points up more consistently,” said Reinhart.

Both teams are playing with intensity, shots are 7-4, in favor of Buffalo half way through the first period.

Sabres didn’t convert on a 33 second 2-man advantage, but did apply a lot of pressure throughout, and for a few shifts after the power play expired.

Sabre putting on a good amount of pressure, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone.

Thompson scores his sixth of the year on a two-on-one rush with Zemgus Girgensons with just 10 seconds left, finishing the period with Buffalo up 2-1.

Lightning Buffalo
Shots 6 16
Hits 2 5
Takeaways 0 5
Giveaways 0 5
Blocked Shots 4 2
Offensive Zone Possession (according to SPORTLOGIQ)
1:52 3:58

Period 2

Sabres continue to apply the pressure picking up where they left off in the first period, getting quality chances and spending a lot of time cycling the puck in the offensive zone.

Tampa ties the game at 2-2 with a nifty one-timer shot by Palat, Hutton had no time to respond.

Jack Eichel took a quick shot glove side high saved by Dominque half way through the second period.

Casey Mittelstadt had a great shift with about 7 minutes remaining in the second, zig-zagging in the slot fighting for possession.

Conor Sheary took a shot on a odd-man rush with about four minutes remaining.

Johan Larsson is engaged, carrying the puck through all zones and protecting the puck, while creating quality scoring chances.

Another good pressure and possession period by the Sabres.

Lightning Buffalo
Shots 11(17) 12(28)
Hits 8 12
Takeaways 2 7
Giveaways 2 7
Blocked Shots 3 8
Offensive Zone Possession (according to SPORTLOGIQ)
4:18 5:56

Period 3

Scandella with his third of year takes a one-timer from Jason Pominville and shot it high on his back hand for big go-ahead goal with 13:59 left in regulation.

“We’re in these games,” Scandella said. “We’ve just got to find a way to get over the hump and win some of these games. I just feel like tonight, again, we play a great game for 55 minutes and in the last five minutes, we’ve just got to find a way to be better. It’s just not good enough.”

The crowd has been loud all night, creating a wave and letting their presence known at every moment of the game.

Less than a minute after Scandella’s goal, the Lighting tied it up at 3-3 with a goal by Kucherov.

Sabres on the power play, with 6:33 left in the third.

Eichel gets called for elbowing on a very questionable call, they will play 4-on-4. The crowd boos heavily to voice their disagreement with the call.

Stamkos off the bench, while teams are playing 4-on-4 jumps in on a 2-on-2 with Kucherov and bangs one home stick side high, to take the lead for the Lightning 4-3 with over five minutes to go in regulation.

“I was just talking to [Kucherov] the whole time [telling him] that it was a forward that was backing up on the right side,” said Stamkos, “We knew that with a 2-on-1 and a forward, he’s not comfortable playing defense. As soon as [Kucherov] dropped it I saw that he doesn’t gap like a normal defenseman so I had some time to pull the puck in and shoot.”

Lighting make it a two-goal lead with just over a minute left in the game by a goal from Callahan.

“It’s a situation, we’re changing, they have two of the best players on the ice in the game. We put our forward in sort of a bad position there on the rush. You can’t give those opportunities to players like that coming right down the slot,” said Sabres coach Phil Housley.

Lightning Buffalo
Shots (33) (30)
Hits 11 20
Takeaways 3 10
Giveaways 2 10
Blocked Shots 10 7

Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

The Sabres delivered a great effort, but when you’re down a goal against a team that has won 17 of their last 19 games it would take something special for them to pull it off. That’s not to say this team can’t come up with last minute heroics to win a game, they’ve done that before this season, but Tampa is a team that is custom to winning each and every night.

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By |2019-01-14T01:59:03+00:00January 13th, 2019|

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