for this game

Sabres score six in third to skate past Lightning

Mar 20, 2008 - 3:58 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Trailing by three goals after two periods, Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres decided to step up when it mattered most.

Vanek registered his third career hat trick and Jochen Hecht scored twice in the third period as the Sabres tallied six times in the final session to post a thrilling 7-4 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

Jason Pominville scored two goals and set up two others for Buffalo (35-28-11), which posted its third consecutive win and climbed within one point of idle Philadelphia (36-28-10) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"By far, tonight was the best comeback, given the time of year and how important this game was," Pominville said. "This was the best comeback I've ever been part of."

It was the 12th time in franchise history the Sabres have scored at least six goals in one period. The 2006-07 team accomplished the feat three times, while Buffalo last did it in the third on November 13, 1983 in an 11-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.

"They were desperate and kept shooting," Tampa Bay goaltender Karri Ramo said. "I just didn't make those saves that I should make."

Derek Roy and Drew Stafford collected three assists apiece and Paul Gaustad added two for the Sabres.

Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and an assist while Jeff Halpern and Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

It was the second time this season Tampa Bay squandered a three-goal lead, as it dropped a 6-4 decision to the Atlanta Thrashers on November 3 after taking a 4-1 advantage.

"It's not the way we want to win," Pominville said. "We would rather have the lead early and be able to play with it. We won't be able to do this every night."

Trailing by three goals entering the third, Pominville and Hecht brought the Sabres within one by scoring 16 seconds apart early in the period.

Pominville tipped in a pass from Gaustad, who had just won a draw, at 5:03 before Hecht wristed a shot past Ramo from the right faceoff circle at 5:19.

"To score on that faceoff play really gave us momentum," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said of Pominville's goal. "I decided to keep that same line out there. For them to cash in right away, it was a big minute for us."

Vanek forged a 4-4 tie with 11:35 to play when he tipped a slap shot by Roy over Ramo's left shoulder. The Austrian put the Sabres ahead for good with 6:46 left to play, beating the Finnish netminder while battling a pair of defenders in front of the net.

Vanek tallied again less than three minutes later to complete his second natural hat trick of the season. His first also came against the Lightning in a 4-3 overtime victory on February 20.

The 24-year-old left wing has recorded all three of his career hat tricks this season.

"I don't know what it is," said Vanek, who scored seven goals in four games against the Lightning this season. "At every level, there's one team (you play against) where everything bounces your way. I can't explain it."

Hecht added a shorthanded empty-netter in the closing seconds to seal the unlikely victory.

Halpern opened the scoring 2:50 into the game, firing a slap shot from the left circle past netminder Ryan Miller, who finished with 15 saves in his 27th consecutive start.

Defenseman Paul Ranger, who had two assists, checked Roy off the puck at Tampa Bay's blue line and delivered a lead pass to Halpern, who skated in on a breakaway and scored his fourth goal in five games.

St. Louis doubled the Lightning's lead with a power-play goal midway through the first, but Pominville halved the deficit at 13:07, when he beat Ramo with a slap shot from the right circle while shorthanded.

Lecavalier scored his 38th and 39th goals in the second period to give Tampa Bay the 4-1 lead. The All-Star put a wrist shot from the right circle past Miller at 5:06, then converted a lead pass from Junior Lessard with 1:49 to go in the session for his seventh goal in five contests.

"Going into the third period, I thought we were fine," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "Even the first four or five minutes, I thought we were fine."






  • 10
    roots
    dar54 Added 5 roots

    Lightning 4, Sabres 7  FinalMar 19 9:57 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 0 4
    BUFFALO 1 0 6 7 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 16 (PAUL RANGER) 2:50
    TAM - (PP) JUSSI JOKINEN 16 (DAN BOYLE, VINCENT LECAVALIER)
    10:36
    BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 25 (JOCHEN HECHT, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    13:07
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 38 (JUSSI

    Mar 19 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 7
    3RD PRD: BUF - (EN) JOCHEN HECHT 21 (JASON POMINVILLE) 19:54

    Lightning 4, Sabres 7  3rd - 0:06Mar 19 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 6
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 30 (DEREK ROY, DREW STAFFORD) 16:07

    Lightning 4, Sabres 6  3rd - 3:53Mar 19 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 5
    3RD PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 29 (DEREK ROY, DREW STAFFORD) 13:14

    Lightning 4, Sabres 5  3rd - 6:46Mar 19 9:22 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 4
    3RD PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 30 (DREW STAFFORD, TONI LYDMAN) 8:25

    Lightning 4, Sabres 4  3rd - 11:35Mar 19 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 3
    3RD PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 20 (PAUL GAUSTAD, JASON POMINVILLE) 5:19

    Lightning 4, Sabres 3  3rd - 14:41Mar 19 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 26 (PAUL GAUSTAD) 5:03

    Lightning 4, Sabres 2  3rd - 14:57Mar 19 9:07 PM
  • 5
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Lightning 4, Sabres 1  3rd - 19:57Mar 19 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 4
    BUFFALO 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 16 (PAUL RANGER) 2:50
    TAM - (PP) JUSSI JOKINEN 16 (DAN BOYLE, VINCENT LECAVALIER)
    10:36
    BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 25 (JOCHEN HECHT, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    13:07
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVAL

    Mar 19 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 39 (JUNIOR LESSARD, PAUL RANGER)
    18:11

    Lightning 4, Sabres 1  2nd - 1:49Mar 19 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 38 (JUSSI JOKINEN, MARTIN ST. LOUIS)
    5:06

    Lightning 3, Sabres 1  2nd - 14:54Mar 19 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 2 2
    BUFFALO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 16 (PAUL RANGER) 2:50
    TAM - (PP) JUSSI JOKINEN 16 (DAN BOYLE, VINCENT LECAVALIER)
    10:36
    BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 25 (JOCHEN HECHT, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    13:07
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND

    Mar 19 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 25 (JOCHEN HECHT, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    13:07

    Lightning 2, Sabres 1  1st - 6:53Mar 19 7:33 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) JUSSI JOKINEN 16 (DAN BOYLE, VINCENT LECAVALIER)
    10:36

    Lightning 2, Sabres 0  1st - 9:24Mar 19 7:32 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 16 (PAUL RANGER) 2:50

    Lightning 1, Sabres 0  1st - 17:10Mar 19 7:14 PM