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Game Recap

Sabres fall to Lightning in high-scoring affair

Mittelstadt, Nylander get their first NHL goals

Recap

In the first game of their final road trip of the year, the Sabres traveled to Florida to take on the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. Buffalo took two of the first three meetings this year, but were facing a team fighting for positioning in the playoffs.

Although the game started with clear dominance by the Lightning, Buffalo responded with three consecutive goals in the second period for a 5-4 lead in the final period, but it was not enough as Tampa won a high-scoring 7-5 game at Amalie Arena.

The story of this game for the Sabres was the first goals for first-round draft picks Alex Nylander and Casey Mittlestadt.

After trailing 1-0 early in the period, Mittlestadt scored his first career goal while Buffalo was on the power play. He also had an assist on Pominville’s goal in the second, giving him five points (1 goal, 4 assists) this year. As a result, he’s currently averaging a point per game thus far in his career.

“It’s kind of a monkey off your back…I had time to pick my head up and [Baptiste] had a good screen…I pretty much just shot the puck in the opening”- Casey Mittelstadt

Following a successful stretch to the end of his second season in Rochester, which resulted in 17 points over his last 20 games, Nylander also got his first career goal. Also his second career point in six games played thus far for the Sabres, the first goals for both top Sabres prospects sent a positive message regarding the team’s future.

“It’s a dream come true, you dream about as a kid, it was a surreal moment…I saw Guhle at the point and I was thinking about getting to the net”- Alex Nylander

Due to lingering injuries to Linus Ullmark and Robin Lehner, Chad Johnson continued his run in net, earning the start. He struggled early, allowing a goal from Cirelli that followed a turnover from Reinhart just 30 seconds into the game. After the early goal, he went on to earn 27 saves on 33 shots faced, but it was a difficult night. 

In the game’s first 10 minutes, five goals were scored and it resulted in a 3-2 lead for the Lightning after the opening period

Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov and Yanni Gourde scored and help put Tampa on the board early and often. After a game with high-powered offense on both sides, Tampa led with a 34-32 edge in shots on goal and played a crucial role in their 7-5 victory.

After trailing 4-2 with just over a minute complete in the second period, goals from Jason Pominville, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo helped push Buffalo out to a 5-4 lead, shifting the game’s balance the rest of the way for both teams.

However, back-to-back goals from Cirelli and Brayden Point in 47 seconds put the Lightning back in the lead early in the third.

Victor Hedman’s empty-netter with under two minutes to go sealed the deal and gave Tampa a much-needed two points in a battle for first place in the division and Eastern Conference.

Following this offensive output and still suffering the loss, the Sabres will finish their 2017-18 season Saturday night in Sunrise, Florida against the Panthers, set for a 7 p.m. puck drop at the BB&T Center.

Scoring

Penalties

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
Z8254-23-5113
X8250-20-12112
X8249-26-7105
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8249-26-7105
X8247-29-6100
X8242-26-1498
Wild Card leaders:
X8245-30-797
X8244-29-997
-----------------------------------------
8244-30-896
8236-35-1183
8235-37-1080
8234-39-977
8230-39-1373
8229-40-1371
8228-43-1167
8225-45-1262
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
P8253-18-11117
X8252-20-10114
X8245-26-11101
Pacific Division Leaders:
Y8251-24-7109
X8244-25-13101
X8245-27-10100
Wild Card leaders:
X8245-29-898
X8243-30-995
-----------------------------------------
8244-32-694
8242-32-892
8237-35-1084
8236-40-678
8233-39-1076
8231-40-1173
8229-41-1270
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