Late goals were the theme Saturday night in Tampa.
Vincent Lecavalier tallied his first goal of the season towards the end of the opening period. It came with 0.6 seconds remaining in the 1st, putting the Lightning on top 1-0. Martin St. Louis recorded his 10th assist of the season.
In the 2nd, Buffalo was the one to score the late goal. Mike Grier notched his third of the season with 46 seconds left.
Steven Stamkos put Tampa Bay back on top early in the third with his seventh goal of the season.
Ryan Miller was solid yet again, as he refuses to lose in regualtion. He helped keep Buffalo in the game by holding the Lightning to two goals.
With five minutes to go in the third, Mattias Ohlund took a cross-checking penalty, giving Buffalo a great opportunity to tie it up. However, the Sabres were not able to capitalize….yet.
After pulling the goalie and putting pressure on the Lightning in their zone, Tampa Bay was called for icing. Instead of calling a timeout, Head Coach Lindy Ruff elected to keep the play going, forcing Tampa Bay to keep the same players on the ice.
Ruff’s decision paid off. Drew Stafford tied the game up with 16 seconds left, sending the game into overtime, where neither team would be able to score.
Miller could not have been any more perfect in the shootout. He stopped all six shooters, allowing his team to eventually score and win the game. It was the 19 year old rookie defenseman, Tyler Myers, scoring the game winner in the shootout.
Buffalo managed to escape Tampa Bay with two points.
The Sabres outshot the lightning 33-26 and improved to 6-1-1 on the season, putting them back atop the Northeast Division.
Like last season, Buffalo is off to a quick start. Hopefully this year, they will be able to keep it up with Ruff’s new play style.
It should be interesting to see how they play against the Devils and the trap next week.
The Sabres next game will be Wednesday, in New Jersey.