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 loses to Buffalo Sabres

TAMPA — There was silence for a significant amount of time in the Lightning locker room.

Right wing Marty St. Louis, still in uniform, reclined on the hard wooden seat with a towel across his chest. Goaltender Mike Smith draped a towel over his head and dropped his head into his hands, not for a few seconds but for minutes.

Such was the aftermath of Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Sabres at the St. Pete Times Forum, a defeat so deflating it sucked the life out of the players.

"It's hard," St. Louis said. "Sometimes you feel you deserve better, but maybe we don't, you know?

"It's draining. It's draining physically, it's draining mentally. You lose a couple games sometimes, it's easy to flip the switch. Now, it's getting harder and harder to flip the switch. It's almost like a lingering feeling."

Tampa Bay (6-12-8) overcame three one-goal deficits on tallies by St. Louis, Paul Ranger and Vinny Prospal. It fought three times, with captain Vinny Lecavalier getting popped pretty good by a Jochen Hecht right.

Didn't matter. The team, on a 0-5-2 streak and loser of seven straight to Buffalo at the Times Forum, fell to 4-13 in one-goal games and, with 20 points, last in the league.

It was 0-for-6 on the power play, outshot 27-23 and could not handle a Sabres surge that included the first 10 shots of the third period. Derek Roy scored on the ninth to break a 3-3 tie with 9:57 remaining.

That from a team that entered on a 3-9-1 streak in which it had scored just 24 goals.

"I don't know what to say any more," Smith said. "It seems like we're talking about the same stuff every game after losses. It's getting old really fast. Yeah, we played with intensity. We battled. Guys stepped up to the plate. But what it comes down to is we're not winning hockey games, and that's why we play. It hurts really bad."

Wing Ryan Malone missed the game with a previously undisclosed upper body injury.

The consequence was the reunited line of Lecavalier, St. Louis and Prospal had six points. That included two Lecavalier assists, St. Louis' second goal in as many games and Prospal's backhand tally that deflected in off the back of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller to tie the score 3-3 with 4:40 left in the second.

But when defenseman Steve Eminger and wing Paul Szczechura lost track of Roy in the slot, the Sabres center had enough time to turn and fire a shot past Smith for the winner.

Tampa Bay outshot Buffalo 8-1 the rest of the way, but the damage was done.

"It seems any time a team puts a run on us, it seems like certain individuals get panicky," coach Rick Tocchet said. "Instead of seizing the moment, we're retreating. I don't think people are consciously doing it. It's just learning how to win."

That, Tocchet said, continues today: "I judge people the way they react after down periods or mistakes. That's what we're looking for now. We've got to show up and go to work."

And forget another edition of what St. Louis called Groundhog Day.

"One-goal losses, we come back, tie a game, the other team scores mid third period. Yeah," Tocchet said, "it's Groundhog Day."

Sabres 1 2 1 4
Lightning 1 2 0 3

First Period1, Buffalo, Stafford 4 (Gaustad), 10:02. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 7 (Lecavalier, Krajicek), 13:05. PenaltiesPominville, Buf (interference), 3:35; Krajicek, TB (tripping), 6:09; Gerbe, Buf (hooking), 7:42; Gaustad, Buf, major (fighting), 16:46; Smolenak, TB, major (fighting), 16:46; Mair, Buf, major (fighting), 17:53; Downie, TB, major (fighting), 17:53.

Second Period3, Buffalo, Vanek 19 (Roy, Stafford), 9:46. 4, Tampa Bay, Ranger 2 (Lecavalier, Prospal), 10:21. 5, Buffalo, Hecht 3 (Mair, Lydman), 14:41. 6, Tampa Bay, Prospal 6 (Malik, St. Louis), 15:20. PenaltiesHecht, Buf (hooking), :50; Smaby, TB (tripping), 4:08; Eminger, TB (hooking), 12:33; Ranger, TB (hooking), 16:31; Gaustad, Buf (boarding), 17:34; Eminger, TB (roughing), 17:34; Roy, Buf (delay of game), 17:57; Hecht, Buf, major (fighting), 19:22; Lecavalier, TB, major (fighting), 19:22.

Third Period7, Buffalo, Roy 7 (Numminen, Stafford), 10:03. PenaltiesSzczechura, TB (hooking), 1:36; Mair, Buf (holding), 7:24; Krajicek, TB (boarding), 11:30; Hecht, Buf (high-sticking), 14:17. Shots on GoalBuffalo 9-7-11—27. Tampa Bay 9-6-8—23. Power-play opportunitiesBuffalo 0 of 6; Tampa Bay 0 of 6. GoaliesBuffalo, Miller 11-7-2 (23 shots-20 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 5-8-7 (27-23). A17,154 (19,758).

Sabres 4

Lightning 3

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Buffalo Sabres 12/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to watch for in Sunday's Indianapolis 500

    Auto racing

    Three things to know about today's 101st running of the Indianapolis 500:

    , of Spain, answers a question during a press conference for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 25, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) NAA103
  2. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  3. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).