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Back-and-forth affair goes Lightning’s way

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

Hoping to avenge their loss on November 13th, the Tampa Bay Lightning welcome in the hottest team in the NHL the Buffalo Sabres. During the Sabres 10 game winning streak, of which the Lightning were the third win they have been the team to beat since mid November. 

TAMPA, FL – Tuesday night the Tampa Bay Lightning watched their three game winning streak come to an end. The visiting Anaheim Ducks beat the home team by a score of 3-1. Tonight was also a night of welcomed returns as Ondrej Palat returned to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres after missing 16 games with a lower body injury.

Girardi kicks things off

It didn’t take long for the Lightning to get on the board against the Sabres. To be exact it took 2:59 for the Bolts to take an early lead. Sabres goalie Carter Hutton would go for a poke check on a Lightning player, unfortunately it would cause him to lose his stick in the process. Alex Killorn would skate the puck behind the net and dish it to Dan Girardi, who would take advantage of the stick-less Hutton and bury the puck for a 1-0 lead. Almost seven minutes later the Sabres would grab the lead on goals nearly a minute apart from Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart. Just about :45 seconds later though, Killorn would get the score back to a tied game. Killorn would skate into the zone with JT Miller. After a little give and go, Miller would pass the puck to Killorn who would notch his fourth goal of the season.

Kucherov continues his point streak

With his goal late in the first period to extend the Lightning lead to 3-2, forward Nikita Kucherov extended his point streak to eight games. During the seven games entering tonight’s contest, Kucherov had two goals and 13 assists during his streak. This is a personal high for him, his previous streak was Oct 13-26 where he registered three goals and six assists. Currently Kucherov is fourth in the NHL for assists with 24. Over the course of the month of November Kucherov was second in the league in points for the month behind Nathan MacKinnon. The Colorado Avalanche forward was 9-14 for 23 points, while Kucherov had 4-17 for 21 points. Since 2015-16 no one in the NHL has more points than Kucherov who had 105 points heading into tonight’s game (38-67).

Reinhart strikes again

Just past the quarter point of the second period, Sabres forward Sam Reinhart struck for his second goal of the night and fifth of the season. On that goal Buffalo’s captain Jack Eichel would also notch his second assist of the night and 25th of the season. Heading into the game tonight Eichel was tied for fifth in the NHL. Tage Thompson would give the Sabres another one goal lead early in the third period. The one goal lead wouldn’t last very long as Steven Stamkos would notch his 8th goal of the season. Seven seconds into a power play created by a tripping call by Johan Larsson on Ryan Callahan. Kucherov would also notch his 25th assist of the season further adding to his great month of November.

Hot Paquette

In what could be one of his best seasons in the NHL, Cedric Paquette once again scored what seems to be a common theme, a clutch goal. While Paquette has always been a solid fourth line center for the team, mostly known for his grit he seems to be adding more than just being a one punch player. His best season came in 2014-2015 when he scored 12 goals and added seven assists. Since then his season high was six goals in 2015-2016. He has already matched his goal total for last season with five goals.

Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star: Sam Reinhart – 2 goals

2nd Star: Nikita Kucherov – two more points (1g / 1a) and he extended his point streak to eight games.

1st Star: Cedric Paquette – Notched the game winning goal for his fifth of the season.

Up Next:

The Lightning will start their short 3 game road trip when they travel to Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers (9-10-4)

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