March 19, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Marcus Foligno (82) is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
After losing the last two games in a shootout, the Buffalo Sabres made sure they had enough goals to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation on Monday night with a 7-3 win. Unfortunately, the Sabres couldn't gain any ground on 8th place Washington as the Capitals also defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-3.
The Drew Stafford/Tyler Ennis/Marcus Foligno line was the star line of the night as they accounted for three of Buffalo's seven goals and seven of the team's 18 points. Drew Stafford scored his lone goal of the night at the 11:31 mark of the 1st period to get the scoring started for the Sabres. Foligno scored twice on the night, the first coming 1:09 into the second period on a two on one play with Tyler Ennis. The second came on the power play late in the second period. While Ennis didn't score, he did have two assists on the night. The Sabres also got production out of Jason Pominville who scored twice as well, Brad Boyes, and Corey Tropp. Overall, eleven Sabres had a point in the game and six players had multi-point nights.
Ryan Miller had a relatively solid night for the Sabres as he made 24 saves on 27 shots to earn the win. The Sabres made life a little easier on Miller with a 27-15 shot advantage through the second period and a 6-2 lead after two periods. The Lightning were able to outshoot the Sabres 12-11 in the third period, but it really wasn't enough to make up any ground.
For the Lightning, Bruno Gervais, Ryan Malone, and Trevor Smith each scored. Only one player was a plus on the night, Eric Brewer, and eight players were minuses in the game. Starting goaltender Dustin Tokarski was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 15 shots. In his place, Dwayne Roloson allowed three goals on 23 shots in 31:44 of ice time.
The Sabres are still two points behind the Washington Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will travel home to take on the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. The Capitals will face the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night to finish up their five game road trip. Winnipeg is two points behind the Sabres and they will face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.