Stamkos Lifts Lightning Past Sabres 4-3 In OT
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Steven Stamkos scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Saturday night.
Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Lightning, who have earned at least a point in 11 consecutive games.
With the win, Tampa Bay remained two points behind Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division after the Canadiens beat Florida 4-1.
Matt D’Agostini, Cody Hodgson and Cory Conacher scored for Buffalo, which finished March with a 2-11-1 record.
Tampa Bay overcame an unusual own-goal from Stamkos that gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead in the third period to win the game.
A delayed penalty to Conacher drew Lightning goalie Ben Bishop to the bench for an extra attacker, but Stamkos’ back pass missed Michael Kostka and bounced off the boards in the neutral zone before gliding into the empty net.
It was an own-goal, but Conacher was given credit for it as the last Sabres player to touch the puck. Conacher was traded from Tampa Bay to Ottawa along with a fourth-round pick for Bishop in April 2013.
The first period had little flow, with Buffalo’s failed power play near the midpoint the only time either team threatened to score.
That changed at the 12:20 mark, as Matt D’Agostini freely carried the puck over the Lightning blue line before firing a point blank wrist shot over the right shoulder of Bishop to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead.
Rasmus Ristolainen and Johan Larsson picked up assists on the goal, giving the rookies points in back-to-back nights for the first time in their careers.
Buffalo doubled its advantage at the 14:07 mark when Zemgus Girgensons stripped Kostka deep in the Tampa Bay zone, and Christian Ehrhoff’s slap shot was redirected into the goal by Hodgson. Girgensons played his first game since missing 11 with a lower-body injury.
The lead wouldn’t last the rest of the period.
Tampa Bay picked up its first goal on Killorn’s shot that beat Matt Hackett between the legs.
Killorn’s 16th of the season came at the 17:52 mark, and Stamkos scored the tying goal with 14 seconds to play.
Bishop was called upon to make a pair of trio of stops four minutes into the second period, as he stopped Tyler Ennis once and Brian Flynn twice before Victor Hedman took a penalty for forcing the net off the moorings.
Trailing 3-2, two penalties gave the Lightning 60 seconds with a two-man advantage, and they only needed 52 seconds to capitalize. Callahan tapped in a cross-crease pass from Teddy Purcell to tie it at 3 at 10:07.
The Sabres had several shots at a winning goal with just over five minutes to play, but Bishop made several saves before referee Dave Jackson lost sight of the puck and blew his whistle. Two minutes later, Larsson’s attempt at an empty net was deflected out of play by Eric Brewer’s outreached stick.
Drew Stafford took a hooking penalty in overtime, and Stamkos walked in from the point to put the winning goal past Hackett.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 10 minutes as the Sabres inducted goaltender Dominik Hasek into their Hall of Fame … Ville Leino missed the game with an undisclosed illness. He left Thursday’s 6-1 loss to Nashville after feeling light-headed.
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