Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Buffalo Sabres 3-1

TAMPA — Guy Boucher wanted to be mad at something, anything, in the Lightning's 3-1 victory over the Sabres on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

But the coach, usually so hard to please, was stumped.

"I was real proud of them," he said. "Those are the type of games we want. The blowouts, you don't really learn much from that. If you want to win a championship, those are the games you have to go get and know how to do it."

It was the third straight win for Tampa Bay, which at 18-10-4 and with 40 points has the best record in franchise history after 32 games and is one point behind the first-place Thrashers in the Southeast Division.

Marty St. Louis had an empty-net goal and two assists. Simon Gagne and Steven Stamkos scored in a second period in which the Lightning had an 18-5 shot advantage, and goaltender Mike Smith, with 22 saves, won a second straight solid start.

Still, the game, more a grind than a show, more a physical test of wills than a free-wheeling skate, was won with what center Nate Thompson called "the little things."

The penalty kill was 5-for-5. Rebounds were cleared; 17 shots were blocked, with defenseman Randy Jones getting seven. And in the final 10 minutes, Buffalo, outshot 37-23 in the game, had just six shots.

Credit the defense and third- and fourth-line grinders such as Thompson and wings Dana Tyrell, who had two shorthanded breakaways, and Adam Hall for leading that charge.

"The little things are huge for us," Thompson said. "We're chipping pucks in, we're chipping pucks out, making smart plays."

Then, laughing, he added, "When we're doing that, hopefully we lead by example. Hopefully, those first- and second-line guys do the same things and make plays."

"They set the tone," Stamkos said. "You feed off that. You see guys like Dana out there taking hits, going wide, it gets the whole bench going. Those guys definitely bring energy and atmosphere to our game."

The top guys did the rest.

Gagne scored with 7:44 left in the second period on the power play after Vinny Lecavalier took the puck away from Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold.

Six minutes later Stamkos scored his 25th at the end of a sequence that began with Ryan Malone besting Andrej Sekera for the puck.

And St. Louis flat out beat Leopold in a race to the net to close out the scoring.

It all just ruined Boucher's night.

"I'd love to be mad at something because I want the players to want more," he said. "But the reality is this was solid."

Lightning 0 2 1 3
Sabres 0 1 0 1
Lightning 0 2 1 3
Sabres 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesWeber, Buf (cross-checking), 3:05; Moore, TB (holding), 19:06.

Second Period1, Tampa Bay, Gagne 3 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 12:16 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 25 (St. Louis, Malone), 18:10. 3, Buffalo, Pominville 5 (Hecht, Sekera), 19:12. PenaltiesMalone, TB (interference), 2:47; Kubina, TB (slashing), 5:31; Weber, Buf (tripping), 10:25; D.Roy, Buf (hooking), 12:34.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 12 (Stamkos, Ohlund), 19:58 (en). PenaltiesBergenheim, TB (high-sticking), 3:47; Lundin, TB (hooking), 10:55; Myers, Buf (tripping), 12:38. Missed Penalty ShotLecavalier, TB, 14:15 third. Shots on GoalBuffalo 7-5-11—23. Tampa Bay 10-18-9—37. Power-play opportunitiesBuffalo 0 of 5; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. GoaliesBuffalo, Miller 11-10-3 (36 shots-34 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 10-5-0 (23-22). A17,141 (19,758). T2:26. Referees—Paul Devorski, Frederick L'Ecuyer. LinesmenShane Heyer, Steve Miller.

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Buffalo Sabres 3-1 12/18/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 19, 2010 12:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  2. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now

    Blogs

    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.

  3. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say the Rays are out of it, but scoring a half-dozen runs in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays was another promising sign.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off right knee surgery, often takes it easy on the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single, finishing with three more hits.

  5. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.