The Tampa Bay Lightning rolled over the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. After dropping their last game to Boston the Bolts took care of beating a bad Buffalo team. They took control of the game right from the start and never relinquished it. This was mainly due to Tampa Bay’s stars. Steven Stamkos picked 3 points, Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman and Anthony Cirelli got 2. This was of course all highlighted by a hat-trick by Nikita Kucherov.
A Solid First
Right off the bat Tampa Bay put themselves in a good position to be successful against a downtrodden Sabres team and they did so on an early goal from Ondrej Palat. After a turnover in the neutral zone Victor Hedman was broke the towards the buffalo end. At the blue line he found Ondrej Palat who was able to split the defense and fire a quick shot past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Then just over halfway through the period the Bolts would strike again. Killorn would find Mikhail Sergachev on the wing and found himself with Cirelli and Stamkos for a 3-on-2. Sergachev fed it to Anthony Cirelled who fired one past Luukonen to make it 2-0. Despite holding a majority of the possession and chances, it was not a perfect period for the Lightning. Buffalo was able to get some opportunities. Andrei Vasilevskiy was forced to make 3 breakaway saves in the first period. However these were minor in comparisons to amount of chances the Lightning had. They were able to force turnover after turnover and keep the Sabres at their end of the rink for much of the period which rolled on through the remainder of the game.
Buffalo gets Rolled Over
If there was any doubt that the Lightning were going to go on to win the game, that was erased in the second period. Kucherov kicked things off by scoring a late on a powerplay carried over from the first. It was retrospect in was one Malcom Subban should’ve stopped, however the last guy goaltenders want to have the first shot against its Kucherov. Then at the halfway point Kucherov would score again. This time it came on a great feed from Corey Perry. Perry was able to wait out his defensemen to open up a line and he fed Kucherov with a beaut of a pass who was wide open on the far post. Next it was the Captain’s turn who absolutely sniped one bar down past Subban to make it 5-0. In the process of scoring three goals in the second, they put on a clinic in puck movement. It was clean, crisp, fast, and nearly effortless. It caused the Sabres to do a lot of puck watching which led to numerous chances.
Bolts Lock it down
After the Lightning rolled over the Sabres in the second the rest of the game was rather uneventful. Which is exactly what a tea wants when their up 5-0. The Bolts played very solid defense only allowing 6 shots on goal in the third period. Although Buffalo would finally score on the powerplay, Kucherov would answer back with a bullet from the point to give him a hat-trick in just his second game back from injury. The main concern in the period was the health Palat who exited the game in the period and didn’t not return. Coach Jon Cooper said the he “has been working through some things” and “anytime we can get him some rest we are going to give him rest.”
Tampa Bay will head back to AMALIE Arena to take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night. After getting off to a slow start, the Canucks have won 8 of their last 10 games since hiring Bruce Broudeau as their head coach in December. Thursday game will mark the first of two home games before the Bolts head back on the road next week. This time it will be their California swing as they’ll face the Kings next Tuesday, then a back-back set against the Ducks and Sharks.
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