The Buffalo Sabres did exactly what they wanted to do at the start of the game, get on the scoreboard first with two goals within the first 2:30 by Thomas Vanek and Brad Boyes. Tampa then rattled off four straight goals on their way to a 4-3 victory over the Sabres. This is the Sabres first two game losing streak of the early season, with both games against the Lightning.
The Sabres looked like they were going to overcome that 3-0 loss to the Lightning on Saturday with those two early goals by Vanek and Boyes. Both goals were chances that were pounced on in front of the net and the Sabres had a lot of hustle and energy to start the game. The Lightning slowly cracked away at the Sabres lead and finally tied the game with a minute left in the first period. From there, the Lightning and the 1-3-1 trap took the game over and they limited the Sabres chances until the final ten or so minutes. Steven Stamkos scored on a goal that was deflected off a Sabre in the second and Ryan Malone scored on a breakaway late in the third period that essentially iced the game. Nathan Gerbe did have a goal in the final minute, but it was too little, too late for the Sabres.
The defense and power play were just a mess on this game. Tyler Myers probably had the worst game of the season, finishing the game with a -2 and a bunch of things that directly leading to the Malone goal at the end of the game. Christian Ehrhoff was a -1 and had three missed shots. Luke Adam had a shift where he left Vincent Lecavalier open in front of the net for an easy chance on Tampa's second goal. The power play was just inept as well with two shots on goal on three shots. Lindy Ruff changed the power play units up before the game and still couldn't generate anything with the man advantage. He attributed much of it to the missed shots the team had, a total of eight in the game.
Many Sabres fans were looking for the head of Ryan Miller by the end of the night for some of the goals that he let in. According to Ryan though, many of those plays were just unfortunate bounces:
Yeah, the first one Lecavalier gets a really nice bounce right back on his tape and its just one of those things in hockey, you just try and roll with it. I probably could have been in a little better position with the third goal but I thought it hit [Gaustad's] skate and Stamkos touched it but I don't know, you guys would know better, so I wasn't really expecting that.
If it is any consolation for Sabres fans, Tampa head coach Guy Boucher did call this the hardest game he had ever coached in the NHL:
We didn't come out at first and after that we were just giving the puck away every two seconds. So, you are looking at your bench and you go 'I've got nobody to throw out there.' So slowly we had to build up with one guy at a time. One guy got on board, and then two guys got on board, and three guys got on board. So, eventually we had half the guys so at least it was a game and slowly we had three quarters but that's the furthest we went.
The Sabres will try and get rid of their home woes against a Columbus Blue Jacket team that just registered their first win on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.