Tampa Bay rolled into Buffalo on Tuesday night and showed why they are one of the best teams in the league, but that did not end up being enough to put the Sabres away.
Things got off to a fast-paced start with the Tampa Bay Lightning in town. As expected when playing Tampa, play found itself bouncing back-and-forth at a rapid pace.
Buffalo was able to get themselves on the board late in the first period.
Sam Reinhart’s shot from the point most certainly was not going to make it into the net but the shot created a rebound, which was quickly put home by Skinner.
Skinner’s 13th goal of the season – at 17:45 of the first period – put Buffalo up 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
Jeff Skinner's 13th goal— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) November 14, 2018
1-0 Buffalo pic.twitter.com/NI4kZQzpyI
Buffalo continued their scoring ways early on in the second period.
A nice pass from Sheary to Okposo, followed by a nice little dandy of a toe drag turned into a seeing-eye goal.
Okposo’s fifth of the season – at 5:43 of the second period – pushed Buffalo’s lead to 2-0.
Tampa did not take long to get themselves back into the swing of things.
A Hail Mary saucer pass led to Anthony Cirelli getting into the offensive zone untouched and on a mini-breakaway. Cirelli deposited the puck over Carter Hutton’s shoulder in for his third goal of the season.
Cirelli’s goal came fifteen seconds after Okposo’s goal, and pulled Tampa Bay within one goal.
Cirelli Goal— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) November 14, 2018
2-1 Buffalo pic.twitter.com/NpUp0p4yFW
Buffalo caught themselves desperately reeling following the goal, allowing a 9-1 shot differential.
The second period came to a close with Tampa Bay boasting a lopsided 14-2 shot differential after a period that featured an offensive stranglehold.
Buffalo was lucky to close the second period with a one-goal lead.
The gameplan in the third period was not much different for the Sabres.
From what appeared to be against their will, Buffalo ran the old “park it in the garage” play for the entire period.
Despite only tallying two more shots in the final period, Tampa Bay had their way with Buffalo’s defense.
The only thing that did not break for the Lightning was a goal – multiple posts were pinged but nothing came of it.
When the final buzzer sounded and the horn filled the Keybank Center, the Buffalo Sabres were able to raise their sticks as battered but not beaten victors.
A very well-earned two points goes into the books and pushes the Sabres to 10-6-2 on the season, with 22 points in 18 games.
Final: Sabres 2, Lightning 1
Shots on goal: Lightning 30 | Sabres 19
Sabres goals: Jeff Skinner (13) and Okposo (5)
Lightning goals: Anthony Cirelli (3)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Carter Hutton (29 saves)
2. Kyle Okposo (GWG)
3. Jeff Skinner (1 G)