The Sabres did a pretty good job hanging in with the Lightning in the opening period. The defense struggled at times with the Bolts speedy forecheck, but didn’t give up anything significant. At the other end of the ice they got some shots through to Andrei Vasilevskiy, but were unable to beat the big goaltender.
The Lightning got on the board in the later part of the period via their top ranked power play. Mikhail Sergachev let a bomb go that was tipped past Robin Lehner by Johan Larsson in front.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard to the locker room after 20 minutes, but the Sabres held the edge in shots on goal 10-9.
The second period wasn’t the most exciting hockey you’ve ever seen. Neither team really had scoring chance or created any plays that caught your attention.
A lot of the action came at the end of the period. Dan Girardi increased the Lightning lead to 2-0 with point shot that was going wide, but deflected in off the skate of Marco Scandella.
Things got worse for the Sabres when Brayden Coburn pushed Rasmus Ristolainen into the back of the net awkwardly in the offensive zone. Coburn would get a penalty, but Ristolainen would slowly skate off the ice holding his arm/shoulder area. Good news is he would return for the third period. After two period the Lightning held a 2-0 lead.
The Sabres pushed for the tying goal or really just one goal for that matter and were unable to come through. While they put 34 shots towards the Lightning goaltender, they didn’t really make him work until the third period.
The ultimate cherry on top came late in the period when Phil Housley pulled Lehner with just over four minutes left. He then used Jordan Nolan and Matt Moulson as the extra attackers not once, but rotated them in twice.
They’ve been shutout two straight games now for the first time since 2014. The frustration continues to boil over in the room and you could feel it especially with defenseman Marco Scandella. “It’s just not good enough to win” Scandella said speaking about the effort after the game. The new Sabres defenseman went on saying “we just have to be ready to play from the drop of the puck, it’s just not good enough right now, we can’t go through games not scoring goals, you can’t win games like that.”
Evander Kane shared similar thought’s saying the team has to “start getting pissed off” about the lack of goal scoring. With two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins over the weekend things won’t get much easier.
Final Score: Lightning 2, Sabres 0
Shots on Goal: Lightning 26 | Sabres 36
Lightning Goal Scorers: Mikhail Sergachev (6) and Dan Girardi (1)
Sabres Goal Scorers: None
Three Stars of the Game
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy (36 saves, shutout)
2. Mikhail Sergachev (1G)
3. Nikita Kucherov (1A)
Comment of the Game
why is nolan even out there with 3 minutes left and the goalie pulled…?
What to Watch
1. The big three are back together.
2. Be ready out of the gate.
I guess they kind of were, but nothing to write home about.
3. Lehner needs to be on his game.
Lehner was pretty good. Two bad luck goals off his own teammates.