for this game

Lightning hold off Sabres

Oct 26, 2011 - 5:20 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone scored the game-winning goal late in the third period and Mathieu Garon stopped 36 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, at First Niagara Center.

Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Nate Thompson also lit the lamp for the Lightning, who have won three straight games, including both ends of a home- and-home series with Buffalo after a 3-0 shutout on Saturday.

Thomas Vanek, Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe scored for Buffalo, which got 19 saves from Ryan Miller.

Leading 3-2 in the third, the Lightning netted the eventual game-winner with 1:21 left when Malone was able to push the puck out to center, went in on a breakaway and slid it in behind Miller.

Gerbe pulled the Sabres within one just seconds later when he slapped one past Garon to make it 4-3 with 49.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

With Miller pulled for the extra attacker, Buffalo mounted a frenetic rally in the last seconds by peppering Garon, but the Sabres were unable to dent his armor and Tampa Bay held on for the win.

Buffalo grabbed the lead just 1:56 in the first period when Jason Pominville chipped the puck out to the neutral zone, sending Vanek between two Lighting defenders in alone on goal. The speedy winger went forehand-backhand before sliding the puck through the legs of Garon for a 1-0 lead.

Just 35 seconds later, Buffalo struck again when Matt Ellis chased down a loose puck in the right corner and fed one out front. The puck went off the stick of Cody McCormick to Boyes in the slot, who buried it in behind Garon.

"We're not proud of our start...but after that we stuck with the game plan and battled," Garon said.

Tampa Bay cut the lead to 2-1 at the 13:03 mark of the first period thanks to some good forechecking work behind the net. St. Louis chipped one into the offensive zone then went in after it and outworked two Sabres to get the puck out front to Lecavalier. The Lightning captain was stopped on his first point- blank shot, but stuffed home the rebound.

Tampa Bay tied the game with a minute to go in the period with a little bit of luck. Thompson battled for a puck behind the net and backhanded one that went off the skate of Christian Ehrhoff in front to make it 2-2.

"It's just a mix of our own fault on turnovers and bad luck," Ehrhoff said.

The Lightning took the lead at 4:42 of the second period on a 4-on-4 situation. The Lightning won a key offensive zone faceoff and the puck made its way back to Matt Gilroy at the left point, who fired one toward the net that was deflected through the legs of Miller by Stamkos for a 3-2 advantage.

Game Notes

Tuesday marked Boyes' 500th consecutive game...With his goal in the first period, Lecavalier now has 800 points for his career...The Sabres are 46-21-5 all-time against the Lightning and own a 22-12-2 record at home in this series. ..Miller is 17-6-0 all-time against Tampa Bay...Both teams went 0- for-3 on the power play...Tampa Bay will travel to Nashville to battle the Predators on Thursday, while the Sabres will welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets, also on Thursday.