BUFFALO, N.Y. — In case anyone is wondering, the three goals the Lightning allowed in 108 seconds of Wednesday's first period against the Sabres was not even close to a record.
The Blues dropped three on Tampa Bay in 36 seconds in April 1993. But that was little consolation Wednesday as the Lightning saw its two-game road winning streak end with a 5-3 loss at HSBC Arena.
"I've never been involved in anything like that," defenseman Kurtis Foster said. "Before you blink, it's 3-0."
Said coach Rick Tocchet: "It's one of those things where you say, 'What just happened?' "
Give Tampa Bay (16-16-10) credit for hanging in. The team, on a 5-2-1 streak, twice cut its deficit to one, including by the end of the first. It even ended with a 39-35 shot advantage (13-5 in the third).
But individual breakdowns were too much to overcome, not to mention a 0-for-3 power play and a blown second-period three-on-one with Vinny Lecavalier, Alex Tanguay and Steve Downie that didn't get off a shot with the Sabres up 5-3.
"It just seems we can't get over that mark," Tocchet said, speaking generally, "because at crucial times, somebody just makes a bonehead mistake."
The first period seemed as if was going to be a nightmare. Buffalo was up by three 2:11 in.
1-0: Tyler Myers scored at 23 seconds with a slap shot from the point after Tim Connolly won a faceoff from Zenon Konopka.
2-0: Jochen Hecht tipped in Craig Rivet's pass past goaltender Mike Smith at 1:11.
3-0: Clarke McArthur, with no one boxing out, put in a rebound 60 seconds later.
"I wouldn't say we weren't ready," Downie said. "We just have to do a better job of blocking shots and helping Smitty down low."
Tocchet called timeout because "I didn't want these guys to start playing out of their system." Smith made a huge stop on Rivet from in close at 6:46, and Tampa Bay got rolling.
Marty St. Louis scored with 7:57 left and then Victor Hedman with 6:35 remaining on a wrist shot from a faceoff circle that beat goalie Ryan Miller high on the stick side. It was a dramatic play by Hedman, who carried the puck from the defensive zone to start and finish a two-on-one.
Buffalo, the Northeast leader and winner of five straight, started fast in the second. Drew Stafford's power-play goal 1:19 in made it 4-2. Lecavalier answered off a scramble. Buffalo regained a two-goal edge on Jason Pominville's goal off his skate.
First Period—1, Buffalo, Myers 4 (Connolly), :23. 2, Buffalo, Hecht 9 (Rivet, Tallinder), 1:11. 3, Buffalo, MacArthur 11 (Mair, Lydman), 2:11. 4, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 10 (Stamkos, Malone), 12:03. 5, Tampa Bay, Hedman 4, 13:25. Penalties—Montador, Buf (hooking), 16:54; Malone, TB (roughing), 17:45; Gaustad, Buf (roughing), 17:45; Lecavalier, TB (holding), 19:22.
Second Period—6, Buffalo, Stafford 10 (Roy, Rivet), 1:19 (pp). 7, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 10 (Downie, Lundin), 5:34. 8, Buffalo, Pominville 11 (Lydman, Connolly), 7:25. Penalties—Vanek, Buf (slashing), 11:14.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Veilleux, TB (tripping), 2:11; Malone, TB (cross-checking), 7:23; Montador, Buf (hooking), 13:14. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-16-13—39. Buffalo 15-15-5—35. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 3; Buffalo 1 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Smith 9-11-6 (35 shots-30 saves). Buffalo, Miller 24-8-3 (39-36). A—18,690 (18,690).