Lifeless Sabres blanked by Lightning in Tampa

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The Buffalo Sabres were shut out 3-0 this evening on their road trip to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The new-look Sabres did what a lot of people probably weren’t expecting; they gave Tampa Bay a fight for the majority of the first period. While the Lightning started off slow, the Sabres were fast and furious, generating a number of scoring chances, while Anders Lindback—starting in his first game for Buffalo—guarded the net well. He only faltered toward the tail end of the period on a shot by Steven Stamkos that somehow slipped through the narrowest of gaps between himself and the post.

The next two goals that he let in should be blamed more on his teammates’ blunders than anything he did. Buffalo found itself in the familiar situation of penalty trouble throughout the second period, at one point stuck defending against a 5-on-3 Tampa Bay power play.

The Lightning generated two tallies on that sequence. Ryan Callahan earned his 20th on the year after staying parked just in front of the Buffalo crease and tapping in a pass from Tyler Johnson behind the net. Less than two minutes later later, Victor Hedman added his eight this season with a strong wrist shot that struck the post and bounced past Lindback.

After being outshot just 12-10 in the first period, the Sabres were overwhelmed by a 17-4 margin in the middle frame. Their first shot on goal in the period came well past the ten minute mark.

Buffalo rallied and outshot Tampa Bay 14-6 in the third, but they were unable to solve rookie netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The 20-year-old Russian, who had lost the last three times that he started a game, pitched his first career NHL shutout by stopping all 28 shots that the Sabres hurled his way.

Lindback finished the game by fending off 32 of the 35 shots he faced. It was his first start in nearly a month. Ironically, the last time he started a game was on February 3rd when his former team, the Dallas Stars, visited Buffalo.

The Sabres will have a few days off before they take to the ice again. Their next contest is this Friday night in the second of their four-game road trip, a match up with the Ottawa Senators. That game is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST from the Canadian Tire Centre.

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