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)

Mathieu Garon's 36 saves push Tampa Bay Lightning past Buffalo Sabres 4-3

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mathieu Garon said he was so focused Tuesday night, he could not recall any save in enough detail to characterize one as his best.

Let us, then, focus on the big picture because if not for the goaltender's 36 saves, no way the Lightning escapes from the First Niagara Center with a 4-3 victory over the Sabres and a sweep of the home-and-home series.

"He held his ground," left wing Ryan Malone said, "and gave us a chance to win."

It was the third straight win for Tampa Bay (4-3-2) and the third straight for Garon since taking over for the struggling Dwayne Roloson.

But unlike the previous two when the Lightning played suffocating defense, this game was sloppy.

Tampa Bay allowed 39 shots, one more than in its previous two games. It had 18 turnovers on seven giveaways and 11 Buffalo takeaways. It allowed four breakaways.

And when Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes scored in 35 seconds, both off turnovers, Tampa Bay was down 2-0 2:31 into the game.

But the Lightning slowly built momentum and got goals from Vinny Lecavalier, Nate Thompson, Steven Stamkos and Malone on a breakaway off a Brett Clark block with 1:23 left in the third period for a 4-2 lead.

Nathan Gerbe's goal with 49.2 seconds left made it 4-3, but that did not diminish Garon's game as the Lightning was outshot 39-23 and 17-7 in the third.

"You've got to battle through it," Garon said. "The easiest thing to do is quit. We had a terrible start. None of us played good. But after that, we stuck to the game plan and battled."

The battle, coach Guy Boucher said, was more for the hearts of the players than their minds.

Boucher said there was so little emotion on the bench the game was "one of the toughest I had to coach in the NHL. … Sometimes you have to fight the opponent. Sometimes you have to fight yourself. We definitely had to fight ourselves."

Even so, a couple of fights against the opponent helped turn the tide.

Steve Downie battled Patrick Kaleta in the first after Kaleta ran rookie Brett Connolly. Malone went after Robyn Regehr in the second after he rocked Lecavalier with a check.

"We just did what we had to do," Downie said.

Said Boucher: "It helped the emotional level."

Garon helped level the playing field. He stopped three breakaways, two by Vanek, and made two sensational leg saves on Derek Roy to keep the deficit 2-0.

"That's what it takes," Boucher said, "a goalie who gets you through the tough moments in a game so that you can get your head above water."

Regardless of which save was his best.

Lightning 2 1 1 4
at Sabres 2 0 1 3

First1, Buffalo, Vanek 7 (Pominville, Adam), 1:56. 2, Buffalo, Boyes 1 (McCormick, Ellis), 2:31. 3, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 4 (St. Louis), 13:03. 4, Tampa Bay, Thompson 2 (Pyatt, Moore), 19:00. PenaltiesVanek, Buf (hooking), 9:12; Downie, TB, major (fighting), 13:20; Kaleta, Buf, major (fighting), 13:20.

Second5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 4 (Gilroy, Bergeron), 4:42. PenaltiesMalone, TB (roughing), 4:37; Regehr, Buf (roughing), 4:37; Thompson, TB (tripping), 5:12; Hedman, TB (hooking), 9:39; Stafford, Buf (tripping), 11:15.

Third6, Tampa Bay, Malone 3 (Clark), 18:37. 7, Buffalo, Gerbe 2 (Boyes, Gaustad), 19:10. PenaltiesMcCormick, Buf (goaltender interference), 6:27; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 14:07. ShotsTampa Bay 10-6-7—23. Buffalo 15-7-17—39. Power playsTampa Bay 0 of 3; Buffalo 0 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Garon 3-1-1 (39 shots-36 saves). Buffalo, Miller 4-3-0 (23-19). A18,690 (18,690). T2:27. Referees—Jean Hebert, Kevin Pollock. LinesmenDavid Brisebois, Scott Cherrey.

Mathieu Garon's 36 saves push Tampa Bay Lightning past Buffalo Sabres 4-3 10/25/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 1:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.