Game 72: Buffalo Sabres versus Tampa Bay Lightning

March 19, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Drew Stafford (21) shoots as Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell (16) attempts to defend during the third period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Buffalo won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Buffalo Sabres beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Monday night.

The slide continues as what was a much-anticipated seven-game homestand that might have kept the Bolts in the playoff chase has degenerated into frustration as they've been handed defeats in four of the five played so far, including three in a row.

Tonight, with still more injuries (Nate Thompson, Adam Hall, Ryan Shannon out) creating holes that have to be filled by somebody (welcome back, Bruno Gervais, Trevor Smith and Pierre-Cedric Labrie) the defeat was decisive.

"We just felt like we gave it to them. We didn't make them earn it, especially the first two...We have to be a lot harder to play against." - Bruno Gervais

"I think they were dealing with a lot of injuries. They had to try and force the play and open things up a little bit. We were able to capitalize on a couple of rushes and made a few good plays on our power play. Our special teams were good. When they have to change their style of play and open things up, I think it plays into our style." - Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville

Drew Stafford got things started for Buffalo, scoring at 11:31 on an assist from Christian Emhoff. Each team had managed just three shots to that point.

At the 15:50, the Lightning had still only registered three shots, while Buffalo scored on their ninth of the game. Jason Pominville tallied a power play goal with helpers from Cody Hodgson and Thomas Vanek.

The score at the end of one was 2-0 Buffalo

The Sabres extended their lead to 3-0 at 1:09 of the second on a goal from Marcus Foligno with assists from Tyler Ennis and Stafford.

The Lightning showed some life, getting on the board at 7:12 on a goal by Bruno Gervais with an assist from Teddy Purcell.

That was short-lived as just over a minute later, Buffalo got the goal back. This time, Corey Tropp scored, with assists from Vanek and Hodgson.

The Lightning cut the lead back to two at 14:14, with Trevor Smith scoring his first goal as a member of the Lightning on assists from Ryan Malone and Gervais.

Foligno scored his second goal of the night at 16:22, cashing in with helpers from Stafford and Ennis.

Thirty-eight seconds later, Brad Boyes scored with help from Cody McCormick and Alexander Sulzer.

The score after two periods was Buffalo 6, Tampa Bay 2.

Each team netted a goal in the third, with Pominville taking the puck away from Victor Hedman and scoring unassisted at the 0:17 mark.

The Lightning closed out the scoring when Malone scored on an assist from Eric Brewer at 14:57.

The homestand continues Thursday when the Lightning face the Edmonton Oilers.

Game notes:

  • Prior to the game, the Lightning signed touted prospect Alex Killorn to a contract.
  • Bruno Gervais now leads all Lightning defenders with five goals scored this season.
  • Teddy Purcell now has 37 assists and 57 total points on the season, both career highs.
  • Trevor Smith's only other NHL goal was scored as a member of the New York Islanders against the Calgary Flames on January 8, 2009.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Melody and Ben Rodriguez as Lightning Community Heroes during the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Rodriguezes, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Beth-El Migrant Missions, The Heart Gallery, Daddies Girls and Kingdom Communities.
    Melody and Ben Rodriguez are extremely important people to some of the most vulnerable children in our community. They make the defining difference in the lives of children, whether a child thrives to be all they can be or are dealing with troubles with some of life’s hardest struggles. More than 12 years ago, they became foster parents to a young child who exhibited weakness. When the child began showing signs of autism, the couple decided to become better equipped to meet her needs. After extensive training they became medical foster parents so they could continue to care for their child.
    They have since taken on the care of 17 foster children and have adopted two kids themselves. The Rodriguezes have placed the special needs of children with shaken baby syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, Down syndrome, heart conditions and other afflictions before their own interests with the purpose of offering a caring and healing environment. They evenly divide the duties for caring for each of the children, whether it’s taking them to doctors’ appointments, making meals or reading the kids bedtime stories. Their boundless love and unwavering determination to heal keeps them fighting for the full and greatest potential of every child they touch.
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