for this game

Halpern, Murphy help Lightning jolt Sabres

Jan 22, 2009 - 5:18 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have yet to respond to rumors regarding the trading of captain Vincent Lecavalier, but they seemingly have changed their ways on the ice.

Jeff Halpern and defenseman Cory Murphy each recorded a goal and an assist as the Lightning posted a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

Blue-liners Lukas Krajicek and Steve Eminger also tallied and Steve Downie added another goal to support a 31-save effort from Mike Smith for the Lightning, who have won six of their last nine.

"The last three or four weeks, this team has faced a lot of adversity, and they passed the test," Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "They've done a great job. We all play to play for the playoffs. Who wants to play just a regular season?

"Obviously there's a light at the end of the tunnel. We've dug ourselves a hole and we're trying to get out of it. We've been getting better as a team, getting those ugly goals."

Derek Roy scored a pair of goals, Ales Kotalik netted a power-play tally and Jason Pominville notched two assists for Buffalo, which had its four-game winning streak halted.

"We worked hard for a good period of time," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We looked like we were going to push right up against them. We created the opportunities we wanted to create and we missed a couple of great opportunities, and when you're pressing that hard, you give up some opportunities."

Amid the distractions, Lecavalier and the Lightning have begun to ease the sting of a horrific 7-16-9 start, which included a season-high, nine-game losing streak.

Tampa Bay already has set a season high for wins in a month with six in January, and its surge has come at a rather puzzling time as it has been rumored to be shopping Lecavalier to a contender such as the Montreal Canadiens.

Lecavalier had scored in three straight games and recorded seven goals and 14 points over the previous 10 contests, but the All-Star was kept off the scoresheet in this one. Instead, his supporting cast stole the show.

"It's really fun," Halpern said. "We have to focus and keep it simple. That's how you score. I think the way our team has been playing over the last few weeks, we're getting goals as a team, and sometimes it might not always be (Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis) that are scoring, but they're tilting the ice for the next line out there."

Tampa Bay claimed an early lead as Eminger blasted a slap shot past goaltender Ryan Miller 4:45 into the contest and Downie tallied just 34 seconds later.

Roy halved the deficit 19 seconds into the middle period, but Krajicek solved Miller 64 seconds later for a 3-1 cushion.

"I think it was a pretty even game, it could easily have gone either way," Kotalik said. "Chance-wise, they were a little bit better. I don't know if we deserved to win tonight."

Kotalik kept Buffalo afloat just over four minutes into the second. After Halpern gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 bulge less than 10 minutes later, Roy struck again with the man advantage with 3:05 left in the session.

"We got a couple of big saves on a couple of overaggressive plays, and then the Halpern goal was kind of a killer for us," Ruff said. "It took a little momentum out of us."

With six seconds remaining in the period, Murphy - who was claimed off waivers from Florida on Monday - capped the offensive outburst with a power-play goal, firing a slap shot from the high slot past Miller.

"We're going to put a big run on now and hopefully get some rest going into the break and come back rejuvenated and ready to make a big push," Smith said. "It was nice to see some of our D contribute tonight, and that was a big goal by Murphy on the power play."

Smith turned aside all nine shots he faced in the third to preserve the victory and improve to 13-16-9 on the season.

"We've go to bear down on those chances," Roy said. "They had their chances, and they put them in the back of the net."

Miller made 21 saves for the Sabres, who fell to 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests.

Buffalo also lost defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who injured his shoulder in the second period and did not return. The Swede is expected to miss a fair amount of time.

"He's not good," Ruff said. "He's got a shoulder injury, and we'll probably get him back to Buffalo to be looked at. But he's going to be out for a good period of time."






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    Sabres 3, Lightning 5  FinalJan 24 1:45 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 3 0 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 3 0 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 4 (JEFF HALPERN) 4:45
    TAM - CORY MURPHY 1 (MATT PETTINGER) 5:19
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) JASON POMINVILLE 13 (TONI LYDMAN) 0:19
    TAM - ANDREJ MESZAROS 3 (VACLAV PROSPAL) 1:23
    BUF - (PP) CRAIG RIVET

    Jan 21 10:13 PM
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    Sabres 3, Lightning 5  3rd - 15:50Jan 21 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 3 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 3 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 4 (JEFF HALPERN) 4:45
    TAM - CORY MURPHY 1 (MATT PETTINGER) 5:19
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) JASON POMINVILLE 13 (TONI LYDMAN) 0:19
    TAM - ANDREJ MESZAROS 3 (VACLAV PROSPAL) 1:23
    BUF - (PP)

    Jan 21 9:21 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    TAMPA BAY 5
    2ND PRD: TAM - (PP) CORY MURPHY 2 (MARK RECCHI) 19:54 (TWO-MAN
    ADVANTAGE)

    Sabres 3, Lightning 5  2nd - 0:06Jan 21 9:21 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    TAMPA BAY 4
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 17 (JASON POMINVILLE, TIM CONNOLLY) 16:55

    Sabres 3, Lightning 4  2nd - 3:05Jan 21 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    TAMPA BAY 4
    2ND PRD: TAM - JEFF HALPERN 3 (TY WISHART) 13:52

    Sabres 2, Lightning 4  2nd - 6:08Jan 21 9:04 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 38 roots

    Sabres 2, Lightning 3  2nd - 10:00Jan 21 8:54 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    TAMPA BAY 3
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) CRAIG RIVET 1 (PAUL GAUSTAD) 4:04

    Sabres 2, Lightning 3  2nd - 15:56Jan 21 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TAMPA BAY 3
    2ND PRD: TAM - ANDREJ MESZAROS 3 (VACLAV PROSPAL) 1:23

    Sabres 1, Lightning 3  2nd - 18:37Jan 21 8:39 PM
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    Sabres 1, Lightning 3  2nd - 18:37Jan 21 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    TAMPA BAY 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) JASON POMINVILLE 13 (TONI LYDMAN) 19:15

    Sabres 1, Lightning 2  2nd - 0:45Jan 21 8:35 PM
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    Sabres 1, Lightning 2  2nd - 0:45Jan 21 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 4 (JEFF HALPERN) 4:45
    TAM - CORY MURPHY 1 (MATT PETTINGER) 5:19
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 5 5
    TAM 7 7

    Jan 21 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    TAMPA BAY 2
    1ST PRD: TAM - CORY MURPHY 1 (MATT PETTINGER) 5:19

    Sabres 0, Lightning 2  1st - 14:41Jan 21 7:53 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) STEVE EMINGER 4 (JEFF HALPERN) 4:45

    Sabres 0, Lightning 1  1st - 15:15Jan 21 7:52 PM