Buffalo at Tampa Bay

Pominville notches hat trick, leads Sabres past Lightning

CBSSports.com wire reports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jason Pominville and Buffalo Sabres made quick work of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Pominville scored three goals and the Sabres beat the Lightning 6-2 on Thursday night to move within four points of New Jersey for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Miller added 23 saves including a stop on Vincent Lecavalier's breakaway as Buffalo held a 4-0 lead after two periods.

"He's been there all year," Pominville said. "That's what you expect out of Ryan. He's an elite goalie and every night he gives us a chance to win."

Derek Roy had a short-handed goal and an assist, and Thomas Vanek also scored for Buffalo.

Pominville scored twice in the first period, the first a power-play goal on a near-perfect pass from Derek Roy. Roy took a pass from Toni Lydman and executed a one-touch feed to Pominville in the center for the easy goal.

"It was a great play," Pominville said. "I was surprised he one-touched it right away and I had a lot of net to shoot at."

He scored his second goal of the period on a follow up after Antero Nittymaki turned away his initial shot on a breakaway.

Defensemen Tyler Myers added his 10th goal of the season as the Sabres took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

Buffalo (37-22-10) extended its lead in the Northeast Division to five points on Ottawa, a 6-3 loser at Atlanta on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay (28-30-12) has watched its playoff hopes evaporate during this home stand with its third loss in a row. The Lightning have scored four goals during that span.

"With every game there's pressure to win," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "Some people just get wound up, sometimes you get too wound up and to me, it looked like anytime Buffalo wanted the puck they got it. We were just really nervous."

They were able to generate the games first scoring opportunity as Steve Downie had a good look at an open net but missed the shot wide. Tampa Bay also had three power-play opportunities in the first period but failed to score as they were outshot 14-4.

"You've got to set the tone for the night," Miller said. "It's not going to be about the other team running around. It's going to be about we want to do."

Downie and Lecavalier had third-period goals for Tampa Bay, but Vanek scored an empty-net goal and Pominville added his third with 34 seconds remaining.

  • Steven Stamkos had two assists for the Lightning, giving him 42 goals and 40 assists.
  • Craig Rivet was given a 10-minute game misconduct for instigating a fight with Lightning forward Todd Fedoruk at 2:07 in the first period.
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Behind Jason Pominville's hat trick, the Sabres climb to within four points of second place in the East. (AP)
Behind Jason Pominville's hat trick, the Sabres climb to within four points of second place in the East. (AP)
Buffalo  (37-22-10) «3126
Tampa Bay (28-30-12)0022
Three Stars
J. Pominville

Goals: 3
Assist(s): 0
D. Roy

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
R. Miller

Saves: 23
Save Pct.: .920

Related Video

Scoring Summary
05:19Power Play - Jason Pominville (19), Wrist Shot. Assist: Roy, Lydman
13:56Tyler Myers (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hecht
16:23Jason Pominville (20), Snap Shot. Assist: Tallinder
09:25Short - Derek Roy (18), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
08:06Steve Downie (19), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stamkos, St. Louis
17:22Power Play - Vincent Lecavalier (21), Slap Shot. Assist: Stamkos, Purcell
18:14Thomas Vanek (23), Empty Net. Assist: Roy
19:26Jason Pominville (21), Tip-In. Assist: Connolly, Lydman
Penalty Summary
02:07Rivet, 5 min, Fighting
02:07Fedoruk, 5 min, Fighting
02:07Rivet, 2 min, Instigator
02:07Rivet, 10 min, Misconduct
04:48Walker, 2 min, Interference
09:22Kaleta, 2 min, Roughing
11:48Fedoruk, 2 min, Interference
12:28Pominville, 2 min, Slashing
12:49Meszaros, 2 min, Hooking
03:14Stamkos, 2 min, Tripping
08:51Myers, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
12:11Thompson, 2 min, Roughing
15:33Fedoruk, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
02:26Hedman, 2 min, Tripping
16:37Connolly, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Tampa Bay412925
Ryan Miller59:57232
Antero Niittymaki58:36225
Game Information
Attendance - 16868
Referees - Brian Pochmara, Chris Rooney
Linesmen - Greg Devorski, Brad Lazarowich
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