The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Buffalo Sabres 5-3.
This game was over within the first three minutes of the first period. Buffalo scored three goals in the first 2:11 on four shots. While the Lightning managed to stage something of a comeback, they never managed to get ahead in this game.
Mike Smith’s head was not in this game early on. I’m not sure his head was in Buffalo, let alone the arena. Of course, the first three goals weren’t entirely his fault. The defense – or lack thereof – did have something to do with that.
The big names scored, as you’d have hoped they would. The three goals were by Martin St. Louis, Victor Hedman, and Vincent Lecavalier. Hedman’s goal was particularly nice since he went end-to-end and put it in unassisted. You don’t expect a defenseman to pull that kind of thing off.
And actually, Hedman had a very strong game overall. Steven Stamkos was consistently very good at faceoffs the entire night. And Matt Smaby was a shot blocking machine. Other than St. Louis, those three guys were the best players on the ice for the Lightning.
The next game is Friday, 8 January, at the New Jersey Devils. Game time is 7 pm Eastern. Come join us on the game thread - it'll be a good time, as always.
Lightning vs Sabres coverage [SB Nation]
Die By The Blade [SB Nation Buffalo Sabres coverage]
Lightning vs Sabres recap [TSN]
Lightning vs Sabres boxscore [TSN]