Sabres wrap up road trip in Tampa

Main storyline: It’s the final game of a four game road trip and the Buffalo Sabres are looking to salvage something, anything, from it. They’re in Tampa Bay for a meeting against the Lightning this evening.

Season series: It’s the fourth of five meetings between the teams this season. After Cody Hodgson helped Buffalo win the first meeting in a shootout, Tampa Bay have put on a show in the other two games. The Lightning put up decisive victories with scores of 5-0 and 5-1. The Sabres will be back in Tampa in March to close out the season series.

Where they stand: The Sabres are second to last in the Eastern Conference with a one point lead over the last placed Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll be going against the top team in the conference tonight as the Lightning lead 56 points, two more than both Pittsburgh and Montreal.

Recent performance: Phil Varone scored his first two goals of the season on Thursday night against Carolina, but Buffalo couldn’t contain the Hurricanes, which netted five goals against Jhonas Enroth. The Lightning just concluded a four game road trip with a pair of 4-2 victories over Ottawa and Montreal. Their only loss on the trip was a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Penguins.

Buffalo notes: “Our top line, if they’re not scoring, we don’t have much scoring throughout,” Nolan said. “Varone, just called up recently, he gets two of our goals tonight and he played a strong game for us. But you shouldn’t rely on call-ups to get goals for you. You need production.”

Opponent notes: “I think we’re growing a little bit as a team,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “We’ve had marginal success on the road, and when I say that, we were kind of hovering around .500. We come into a tough building. We go down 1-0. I don’t like the fact we’ve gone down, but the Toronto game we were down two, Ottawa we were down one, tonight down one. We thought we kind of deserved a little bit of better fate, and guys just stuck to the program and it worked out.”

Conclusion: The Sabres aim to break their six game losing streak and come up with a point or two as they close out their four game road trip. Tonight’s game against the Lightning is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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