Buffalo at Tampa Bay

Lightning 3, Sabres 1


TAMPA, Fla. -- Lightning coach Guy Boucher is pleased with his team's improving play in close games.

Steven Stamkos scored his 25th goal of the season, Martin St. Louis had an empty-net goal and two assists and Tampa Bay beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Saturday.

"If you want to win championships, those are the games that you've got to go get," Boucher said. "You've got to know how to do it."

Tampa Bay also got a goal from Simon Gagne. Mike Smith stopped 22 shots, helping the Lightning win for just the second time in their last 11 homes games against Buffalo.

"What can I say? These guys are just battling every night," Smith said.

Tampa Bay is 5-2-1 in its last eight games, including four one-goal wins.

"I think we're taking pride the last couple weeks in our defensive play," Stamkos said.

Jason Pominville had a goal and Ryan Miller made 34 saves for the Sabres. Miller was pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots in the first period of a 6-2 loss Friday night at Florida.

"It's disappointing," Sabres right wing Mike Grier said of the consecutive losses. "We were playing fairly well coming in, but we dug ourselves a hole."

Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier failed to score on a penalty shot with 5:45 remaining in the third.

Gagne put the Lightning up 1-0 when he lifted a low-slot backhander over Miller during a power play with 7:44 left in the second. Miller lost for the fourth time in 20 career decisions against Tampa Bay.

Stamkos made it 2-0 with 1:50 left in the second, scoring from the slot off a pass from St. Louis, who had received a pass through the slot from Ryan Malone.

Pominville cut it to 2-1 when he scored an in-close goal with 47.7 seconds to go in the second. The right wing has 13 goals and 29 points in 21 games against the Lightning.

"I just didn't think we won enough battles," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said.

Tampa Bay went up 3-1 on St. Louis' goal with 1.6 seconds to play. Stamkos assisted on the goal for his 21st assist this season.

Miller stopped Dana Tyrell's shot during a short-handed breakaway four minutes into second. The goalie also stopped another short-handed chance by Tyrell early in the third.

Tampa Bay outshot Buffalo 18-5, including five shots by Stamkos, during the second.

"The way we're winning is great," Lightning center Nate Thompson said. "We're playing from the start to the end. These tight games, we're getting contributions from everyone."


Buffalo C Tim Connolly broke his nose and went to the locker room after a check into the boards by Thompson 90 seconds into the game. Connolly returned for the start of the second period. "Badly fractured," Ruff said. ... Gagne has 13 goals and 30 points in 31 games against Buffalo. ... Sabres D Shaone Morrisonn (concussion) has resumed practicing with the team. He has missed six straight games.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Buffalo (13-15-4)0101
Tampa Bay  (18-10-4) «0213
Three Stars
N. Thompson

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
R. Malone

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
D. Tyrell

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
12:16Power Play - Simon Gagne (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Lecavalier, St. Louis
18:10 - Steven Stamkos (25), Slap Shot. Assist: St. Louis, Malone
19:12 - Jason Pominville (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Hecht, Sekera
19:58 - Martin St. Louis (12), Empty Net. Assist: Stamkos, Ohlund
Penalty Summary
03:05Weber, 2 min, Cross-Checking
19:06Moore, 2 min, Holding
02:47Malone, 2 min, Interference
05:31Kubina, 2 min, Slashing
10:25Weber, 2 min, Tripping
12:34Roy, 2 min, Hooking
03:47Bergenheim, 2 min, High-Sticking
10:55Lundin, 2 min, Hooking
12:38Myers, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
Ryan Miller58:57342
Mike Smith60:00221
Game Information
Attendance - 17141
Referees - Paul Devorski, Frederick L'Ecuyer
Linesmen - Shane Heyer, Steve Miller
Other Games
NYR 1 Final
Phi 4
Ana 2 Final
Car 4
Wash 2 Final
Bos 3
NJ 1 Final
Atl 7
Pho 4 Final
Dal 2 Final
Colu 1
SJ 4 Final
StL 1
LA 6 Final
Nash 1
Tor 1 Final
Van 4
Min 3 Final
Cal 1