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High Scoring OT Loss for the Lightning

Photo credit: Wayne Masut

The Tampa Bay Lightning play the second of this brief two game homestand tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. The visitors are having a surprising season, a very high scoring season. Coming into tonight, the Sabres have 60 points. That puts them four points behind the second Wild Card spot. Clearly, they need this win to buoy their playoff hopes. None of that matters to the Lightning who are looking to maintain their consecutive point streak at home. They have earned at least a point in the last 15 games at Amalie Arena

So, once the puck drops we’ll see two of the top four scoring teams in the league. They are also two of the top six in power play percentage. Both teams at least for the near future are playing games that have playoff ramifications. Buckle up, it feels like we’re in for a humdinger of a game. 

Captain, My Captain

Right from the jump, the Lightning seemed to put the Sabres on their heels. A little over two minutes into the game, Tampa opened the scoring. Steven Stamkos streaking down the ice blasted a shot past Eric Comrie to make it 1 – 0 Lightning. They were on a 3 on 2 odd man rush so Stamkos had choices. Clearly, he made the right choice. About 10 minutes after the Stamkos goal, Buffalo knotted the game at one. Rasmus Dahlin jumped into the play and attempted a no-look pass into the slot. The pass hit teammate Zemgus Girgensons’ skate and slid past Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game. This might have been the luckiest goal all season but it counts every bit as much as Stamkos’ slapshot goal. 

Once Buffalo tied the game, it was played much tighter defensively after the two initial goals. Buffalo’s defense did seem stymied by Tampa’s offensive zone time, yet held the Bolts off  the scoreboard. The first period ended at one goal apiece. The Lightning held a big advantage in shots on goal 9 to 3. How this game turns out will be determined in the final two periods. How will the Lightning respond?

Deuces Are Wild

The second period was a little less frenetic than the first. At least in the first few minutes. The pace began to pick up as Brandon Hagel was whistled for a tripping penalty. The Lightning killed the penalty with ease which isn’t as easy as it sounds. The Sabres have a very good power play. After the Lightning kill, the Sabres committed a penalty putting the Lightning on the man advantage. Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov had one timers that Comrie saved keeping the score tied. Ultimately, the Sabres killed off the penalty. This is when some extracurricular activity began. Anthony Cirelli looked at dropping the gloves with anyone in a visitor’s sweater. Then Buffalo’s Kyle Okpos0 dropped Cirelli from behind in cowardly fashion. 

Soon after, Nick Paul finished a check on Rasmus Dahlin but was called for an interference penalty. On the ensuing power play, Buffalo took the lead on a 3 on 1 rush. Tage Thompson put the puck in behind Vasilevskiy on a nice pass from Joel Skinner. The Sabres now had a 2 -1 lead. Less than three minutes later, Thompson found himself again on a breakaway and snapped the puck past Vasilevskiy to put his team up 3 – 1. 

Deuces Are Wild – Part II

Okay, so the frenzy is firmly in place now at Amalie Arena. A whole 16 seconds after Thomps0n’s second goal, Victor Hedman jumped on a rolling puck and shelved it up over Comrie to make it 3 – 2 Buffalo. Keeping up the pace of this period, the Sabres scored their fourth goal of the game less than a minute after Hedman’s goal. Jack Quinn on a feed from Peyton Krebs put the Sabres up 4 -2. Is this the dagger for the Lightning? Will they show the fight to get back in this game? 

The period ended with the visitors up by two goals. The Sabres outshot the Lightning 13 to 10. We are seeing two of the top scoring teams in the league doing their thing. What will the third period hold for us? Is this the end of the Lightning’s consecutive point streak at home? Will the Sabres earn a hard fought two points towards their first playoffs since the world was young?

High Scoring Game

No doubt that the Sabres had a bit of confidence coming into the final regulation period. And why not? They had a two goal lead and had pretty much taken the crowd out of the game. However, there was still some fight in the Lightning. At about the five minute mark of the period, Brayden Point on a breakaway slid the puck past Comrie’s five hole. Hedman fed Point on a beauty of a pass to go in all alone on the Buffalo goalie to make it 4 – 3 Buffalo.

Less than a minute later, a misplay by Mikhail Sergachev proved costly. He batted a puck with his hand awkwardly and the puck found the stick of Sabres All-Star Thompson. He went in on Vasilevskiy and scored his third goal of the game giving the Sabres a 5 – 3 lead. Hey, you put two of the league’s high scoring teams and what do you expect?

High Scoring Finish

As the halfway point of the period was getting closer, the Lightning were picking up the pace. Cirelli scored 90 seconds after the last Thompson goal, edging the Lightning closer making the score 5 – 4 Buffalo. As the game was winding down and approaching just five minutes left, the Lightning offense went into desperation mode. The result? Ross Colton blasted a one-timer past Comrie to tie the game with 5:06 remaining. Game is now tied at five.

Despite a few very good scoring chances for both teams, the game was heading to overtime. With six seconds left, Buffalo was called for a delay of game penalty. Making the beginning of the overtime period interesting. 


Starting the extra time with a power play, the Lightning had plenty of zone time but nothing to show for that. As the penalty was coming to an end, Stamkos had the puck in the high slot. He appeared to be hooked and spun around but there was no whistle. Buffalo defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin went in on a breakaway and snapped the puck past Vasilevskiy for the game winner. The Lightning worked hard to earn the point for getting the game to overtime. It kept their home point streak intact at 16 straight games. Though this one was definitely they will want back.  

Three Stars 

  1. Tage Thompson – Hat Trick 
  2. Brayden Point – One goal, three assists
  3. Steven Stamkos – One goal, one assist

What’s Next 

Saturday in Detroit to face the Red Wing. Puck drops at 8:00 pm.


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