Alex Killorn found the back of the net with just under four minutes to play to break the 1-1 tie, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Sabres 2-1 on Saturday night in Tampa. Killorn was in front of the net and wristed one by a sprawling Mike Weber as Chad Johnson was caught out of position with 20 seconds left on the Lightning power play.
Sam Reinhart opened the scoring with his first career NHL goal on a nifty feed from Tyler Ennis just three minutes into the contest. The line of Reinhart, Ennis and Ryan O’Reilly generated scoring chances all night long, but Buffalo had just the lone goal to show for it.
Tyler Ennis himself had more shots on net after the first period than the whole Lightning team, and the Sabres had the shot advantage all night long. They ended the 1st period with a 16-3 lead and finished the night with 32-22 advantage.
Vladislav Namestnikov evened the score midway through the 2nd period when he broke away behind the Sabres defensemen after a Buffalo turnover and beat Johnson top shelf with his forehand. Rookie Jake McCabe couldn’t catch Namestnikov after he slid by him on the breakaway.
Buffalo had a few chances in the last few minutes after Killorn’s goal. The best came when Sam Reinhart lofted a beautiful saucer pass from left wing to center ice and connected with O’Reilly alone in front of the net. He put it on the forehand and tried to go up top, but Ben Bishop slid with him and made a nice save.
Buffalo had to pleased with the immense amount of opportunities it received throughout the game, but has to be disappointed with the lack of goals that were put up. Chad Johnson played well, sending away 20 of the 22 shots thrown on him, but Buffalo couldn’t solve Bishop. He made save after save after allowing the early one from Reinhart.
The Sabres get a few days off now as they don’t have to play again until they’re back home Wednesday night against the Maple Leafs. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.