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Snow Covered Buffalo faces Lightning Storm

Record setting snow covered much of the city of Buffalo a couple of weeks ago. In some areas, the snow was as high as six feet! Tonight, Buffalo would face a different type of storm, as the Tampa Bay Lightning roared into town. The two teams have had somewhat opposite months of November. Thus far this month, the Bolts sport a record of 7-3-1, having won five of their last six. The Sabres, on the other hand, have gone 3-9-0 including an 8-game losing skid. The teams faced off against one another in Tampa back on November 5th with the Lightning taking that game by a final score of 5-3. Would we get a repeat performance, or would snow-covered Buffalo cool down the red-hot Lightning?

Buffalo Faces a Familiar Foe

As he did earlier this month, Brian Elliot would get the start in goal for the Bolts. Elliot has enjoyed a dominant career against the Sabres with a record of 19-4-2 in 26 games with a goals against average of 1.9 and a save percentage of .935. On the road, as they are tonight, Elliot has gone 6-4-0 in 10 games with a goals against average of 2.43 and a save percentage of .925. He had his work cut out for him tonight as the Sabres dominated possession time and the shot clock throughout much of the game.

Silencing the Lightning Storm

The Bolts have been been hot as of late but it was the Sabres who came out on fire in this one. Despite being dominated early on, the Lightning jumped out to a quick lead. Brayden Point scored a power play goal after some beautiful stick work for the first goal of the game at the 7:54 mark. Kucherov and Hagel drew the assists.

Approximately nine minutes later, Perry doubled the lead for the Bolts, scoring his third of the season on a pretty pass from Steven Stamkos at 16:48 to make it 2-0. Despite the lead, Buffalo continued to look like the dominant team.

Their play finally got rewarded as Tage Thompson scored a highlight reel goal at 17:54 to cut the lead in half. And 59 seconds later, they got the equalizer as Jack Quinn scored his fourth of the season. The first period came to a close with the teams squared at two but Buffalo holding the shot advantage 14-4.

The second period did not start out much better for the Lightning and Tyson Jost scored his first of the season at the 9:07 mark to give the Sabres their first lead of the game at 3-2. Midway through the game, the Bolts found themselves trailing 3-2 and with only eight shots of their own.

But at 14:58, Mattias Samuelsson took a penalty for a high stick to Nikita Kucherov’s face. Once again, Brayden Point made them pay with his second power play goal of the game, and second consecutive two-goal game. Once again, the teams would go to the dressing room all tied up, but the Sabres holding a significant advantage in shots at 21-12.

Late Lightning Storm Surges

Both teams looked determined to take the lead to start the third period with both getting some good looks at the net. It would be the Sabres who would break the deadlock at the 9:37 mark as Dylan Cozens fired a shot past Elliott. Just under five minutes later, the Sabres appeared to put the game away with Jeff Skinner scoring his 10th of the season from an almost impossible angle to fool Elliott. Sabres with a 5-3 lead with just over fives minutes remaining in regulation.

And then came the Lightning’s storm surge. Just sixteen seconds after Skinner’s goal, Steven Stamkos tipped the puck past goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to breathe new life into the Bolts. About two minutes later, Tyson Jost took a penalty for hooking against Brayden Point. The Bolts’ power play, already two for two on the night went to work again. Coach Jon Cooper pulled his goaltender to give the Lightning a two-man advantage. And once again, the power play connected as Kucherov’s shot seemed to bounce in off Brandon Hagel’s knee.

To overtime we go and just over halfway through the five-minute extra period, the captain, Steven Stamkos drilled a pass from Nick Paul past Luukkonen at the 2:44 mark to give the Bolts a critical two points in a road victory. With 2 points tonight, the captain is up to 998 in his career, as the watch to 1,000 continues.

3 Stars

1- Steven Stamkos- 2 goals, including the game winner in overtime

2- Nikita Kucherov- 3 point night

3- Brayden Point- second consecutive 2-goal game

Up Next

The Bolts head to Boston to face the league-leading Bruins tomorrow night in the second of back-to-back road games. Game time is 7pm as the Lightning look to end the Bruins’ record-setting home win streak to start a season.

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