TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres are making a serious push for a postseason berth.
Marcus Foligno and Jason Pominville each scored twice and the Sabres beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 Monday night.
“We were able to capitalize on a couple of rushes and made some good plays on our power play,” Pominville said. “When they have to change their game plan and open the game up, I think it falls into our style of play. We’ve got guys that have speed and can make you pay, and we did.”
Foligno had two of Buffalo’s four second-period goals, helping the Sabres take a 6-2 lead. Pominville scored in the first as the Sabres went up 2-0, and made it 7-2 on a goal 17 seconds into the third.
Drew Stafford, Corey Tropp and Brad Boyes had the other Buffalo goals. The Sabres are 4-1-2 over their last seven games and remain two points behind Washington for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
“Getting closer to where we want to be is fun,” Pominville said. “That’s what it’s all about, so we’ll try to keep climbing, and we’re slowly getting to where we want to be.”
Bruno Gervais, Trevor Smith and Ryan Malone scored for the Lightning, who have lost six of seven. Tampa Bay is playing without eight injured regulars, including goalie Mathieu Garon (groin) and captain Vincent Lecavalier (hand).
The Lightning are 13th in the East, one season after reaching the conference finals.
“We want to get back to where we were, but it’s a different team, it’s different players, it’s different circumstances,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “We want to groom the guys here. It’s grooming players right now, let’s not kid ourselves.”
Pominville has 16 goals and 35 points in 27 games against Tampa Bay.
Stafford also had two assists, and has two goals and nine points during a four-game point streak. Foligno has five goals and seven points over his last five games.
Thomas Vanek had two assists, giving the Buffalo left wing 23 goals and 10 assists in 28 games against the Lightning. Sabres center Cody Hodgson also had two assists for his first points in 13 games.
“They’re tough,” Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis said. “That team played really well. We gave them way too much time.”
Tampa Bay rookie Dustin Tokarski was pulled midway through the second after allowing four goals on 15 shots, and was replaced by Dwayne Roloson.
Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who lost the first three games of the season series, made 24 saves and improved to 18-7-0 in 25 games overall against the Lightning.
“I just think we played the right kind of game to exploit a little bit of their system,” Miller said. “They were down in the game. They felt they probably had to push, and we got more goals because of it.”
Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, the league goals leader, did not have a shot on goal and has not scored in three games since getting his 50th goal this season against Boston on Mar. 13.
NOTES: Sabres C Tyler Ennis had two assists, giving him five assists and nine points over a five-game point streak. … Buffalo D Tyler Myers served the final game of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit from behind. … Tampa Bay announced the signing of G Sebastien Caron, who had been playing in Germany. The Lightning also signed Harvard F Alex Killorn to a two-year contract, and recalled LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie from Norfolk of the AHL. … Buffalo signed F Phil Varone, currently with Rochester of the AHL, to a three-year, entry-level contract. … Malone had seven shots on goal.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.