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Stafford's hat trick highlights Buffalo's triumph over TB

Feb 9, 2011 - 6:38 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Drew Stafford notched the fifth hat trick of his career and Buffalo scored six consecutive goals in a 7-4 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Thomas Vanek had two goals and an assist while Jordan Leopold had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who have won four of their last five. Ryan Miller made 30 saves in the win.

Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and an assist and Sean Bergenheim added two goals for the Lightning, who have dropped two of three.

Dwayne Roloson had his worst game since being acquired by the Lightning on New Year's Day. He finished the contest giving up all seven goals on 28 shots.

"It's really frustrating," Roloson said. "Unfortunately, we played well enough the first two periods to win a hockey game. In the third, we just didn't play our game defensively, from myself out."

Trailing by two goals in the second, Vanek's first of the game and 20th of the season made it a 3-2 contest with 1:50 left in the frame. Leopold tied the game with his 11th marker of the year at the 4:26 mark of the third.

Tim Connolly then gave his team its first lead of the game. Tyler Ennis picked off a bad clearing pass from behind the Tampa Bay net and threw it to the right side for Connolly, who slipped a backhand past Roloson for a 4-3 advantage with 9:46 left.

Just 47 seconds later, the Sabres took a 5-3 lead as Cody McCormick sent a backhand pass from behind the net to the front, where Vanek wristed it home.

Less than a minute after that goal, Stafford skated down the right wing to the circle. Using a defender as a screen, he shot a wrister off the pipe and into the net for a 6-3 advantage.

Stafford completed the hat trick on the power play 1 1/2 minutes later, when he beat Roloson cleanly with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

Lecavalier's power-play one-timer with 3:41 to play completed the scoring.

Bergenheim and Stafford exchanged goals in the first period, while Lecavalier and Bergenheim scored their 10th goals of the season in the second period to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.

Game Notes

The Sabres play in Florida on Thursday...Tampa Bay has off until Saturday when it will host Carolina...Tampa Bay had won the previous two matchups with Buffalo this season...Tampa was 1-for-5 on the power play while Buffalo went 1-for-6.