Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning allows six in third, loses 7-4 to Sabres

From left, Filip Kuba, Shane O’Brien and Karri Ramo look back as Thomas Vanek celebrates one of his three third-period goals. Vanek also had a hat trick against the Lightning on Feb. 20.

Associated Press

From left, Filip Kuba, Shane O’Brien and Karri Ramo look back as Thomas Vanek celebrates one of his three third-period goals. Vanek also had a hat trick against the Lightning on Feb. 20.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The old Lightning showed up Wednesday night, jittery in the third period, on its heels and unable to get key saves.

The result: Tampa Bay allowed six third-period goals in a brutal 7-4 loss at HSBC Arena to the playoff-hungry Sabres, who wiped out a three-goal deficit.

It was the 20th time this season, and 14th in regulation, the Lightning (29-36-8) lost after entering the third period tied or ahead. And it came after a second period in which Tampa Bay scored twice to build a 4-1 lead with an 8-2 shot advantage.

"That was pretty embarrassing. I'm embarrassed," defenseman Dan Boyle said.

"We knew they were going to come out hard, and we did not respond at all. They beat us to every puck and outworked us."

It was a stunning turnaround as the Lightning, which has been outscored 104-67 in the third this season, lost a three-game winning streak and goaltender Karri Ramo blew a gasket, allowing five goals on 15 shots.

"It seemed like every shot they took somehow kept going in," Ramo said.

Jason Pominville, who had two goals and a four-point night, and Jochen Hecht scored within 16 seconds to make the score 4-3 5:19 into the third period.

"After that, it seemed like we were on our heels instead of our toes," wing Mathieu Darche said. "Instead of taking it to them, we sat back.

"They have speed, and if you let them make plays, they'll make plays."

Thomas Vanek scored at 8:25 and got the winner with 6:46 left past a shell-shocked Ramo, who was looking right as the shot came left. Vanek finished a natural hat trick with his 31st with 3:53 left.

In the previous game between the teams, Feb. 20 in Buffalo, Vanek scored twice in the third to tie it and again in overtime to give the Sabres, who have a league-high 234 goals, a 4-3 win.

Wednesday, Hecht scored an empty-netter while short-handed with 5.5 seconds left for a less-than-merciful finish.

Worse, defenseman Paul Ranger left the game midway through the third period with a left shoulder injury after being checked into the boards by Daniel Paille.

It also left totally moot the good things that had happened.

Vinny Lecavalier had three points with two goals that gave him 39 for the season and seven in five games. Marty St. Louis scored his 23rd and Jeff Halpern his 16th — sixth in 11 games since coming from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal.

But Tampa Bay was overwhelmed in the third period and was outshot 16-4 and 32-19 for the game.

"I think we played two very good periods," coach John Tortorella said.

"Obviously, it was just a collapse."

Sabres 1 0 6 7
Lightning 2 2 0 4
Sabres 1 0 6 7
Lightning 2 2 0 4

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Halpern 16 (Ranger), 2:50. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 24 (Boyle, Lecavalier), 10:36 (pp). 3, Buffalo, Pominville 25 (Hecht, Tallinder), 13:07 (sh). PenaltiesBoyle, TB (hooking), 7:29; Picard, TB (roughing), 9:18; Bernier, Buf (roughing), 9:18; Afinogenov, Buf (roughing), 9:18.

Second Period4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 38 (Jokinen, St. Louis), 5:06. 5, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 39 (Lessard, Ranger), 18:11. PenaltiesO'Brien, TB (tripping), :52; Halpern, TB (tripping), 18:40.

Third Period6, Buffalo, Pominville 26 (Gaustad), 5:03. 7, Buffalo, Hecht 20 (Gaustad, Pominville), 5:19. 8, Buffalo, Roy 30 (Stafford, Lydman), 8:25. 9, Buffalo, Vanek 29 (Roy, Stafford), 13:14. 10, Buffalo, Vanek 30 (Roy, Stafford), 16:07. 11, Buffalo, Hecht 21 (Pominville), 19:54 (sh-en). PenaltyStafford, Buf (tripping), 18:24. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 7-8-4—19. Buffalo 14-2-16—32. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 2; Buffalo 0 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Ramo 5-10-2 (31 shots-25 saves). Buffalo, Miller 33-24-9 (19-15). A18,690 (18,690).

Sabres 7

Lightning 4


Burned in the third

The Sabres beat the Lightning in all four games this season (twice in overtime) thanks primarily to their third periods. The period-by-period scoring:

1 2 3 OT Tot

Sabres 3 4 10 2 19

Lightning 3 5 4 0 12

Lightning allows six in third, loses 7-4 to Sabres 03/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2008 12:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.