The Buffalo Sabres came limping into tonight’s matchup versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, on a four-game losing streak while still looking to get Ron Rolston his first NHL head coaching victory.
The Sabres started off the game with a fast pace, controlling the puck well, for the first minute.
That was until Steven Stamkos split the Buffalo defense like hot butter and net his 14th goal of the season, a mere 1:24 into the game.
Buffalo continued to struggle against the speed of the Lightning’s offense, but they were able to catch a break midway through the first.
From behind the net, Cody Hodgson seemed as if he was trying to center the puck but in what could amount to “puck luck”, Hodgson’s attempt would deflect off of Lightning defender Sami Salo’s skate and into the net.
The goal at 10:02 was credited to Cody Hodgson, his 8th of the season.
Heading into the second period, the Sabres just looked to keep things at a status quo, with their track record as good reasoning.
Buffalo started the period well, but quickly started shooting themselves in the foot.
First, it was a Tyler Myers high sticking penalty.
Then, a Drew Stafford high sticking penalty.
Followed by, a Tyler Myers hooking penalty, which lead to a 5-on-3 for Tampa Bay.
As per usual, goaltender Ryan Miller was the key for the Sabres this period. Miller stopped 6 shorthanded shots, while the Sabres killed off their three penalties.
The third period began with the Sabres looking to build off of their successful second period.
With a mere 52 seconds off of the clock, Tyler Myers put home a rebound with authority, his third goal of the season.
With the Sabres up 2-1, the defense began to dig their heels in. The defensemen slowed down their game, allowing for smarter decisions to be made.
Although the Sabres allowed 12 shots on goal, they were anchored again this period by Ryan Miller, who made all 12 saves.
The Sabres would clinch a 2-1 victory in Tampa, snapping their four-game losing streak.
This win brings the Sabres record to 7-12-1, and marks the first win in the NHL coaching career of Ron Rolston.
The Sabres will take the ice again this Thursday night, when they travel to Sunrise and take on the Florida Panthers. The game will be broadcast on MSG with puck drop shortly after 7:30 PM.