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Game 80: Tampa Bay Lightning at Buffalo Sabres

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BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 05: Vincent Lacavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates ahead of Nathan Gerbe #42 of the Buffalo Sabres  at HSBC Arena on April 5, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 05: Vincent Lacavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates ahead of Nathan Gerbe #42 of the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on April 5, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.

Vincent Lecavalier played in the game, wore a half-shield, and scored one of the game's two goals. He also had three shots on goal and was 11 of 17 in the faceoff circle, or won 65% of his faceoffs. For a guy with an injured eye, he had a pretty good night, despite that.

Although, Victor Hedman left the game with what was being called a "lower body" injury. So while Lecavalier didn't miss a game because of his injury, Hedman could be out. For how long, I'm not sure anyone knows yet. The team hasn't released any information about that as of the end of the game.

Martin St. Louis also had a good night, with five shots on goal and three hits, and Simon Gagne had four shots. And while Ryan Malone got into a fight, there wasn't a lot of emotion on this team. Most of the big guys came out to play, but the rest of the team really didn't.

And it showed in the beginning of the game. It was five-on-five hockey, but the Lightning were pinned in their zone like they were on a penalty kill. They couldn't get the puck into the offensive zone unless it was icing. Frankly, I was very surprised when I saw that the shots were almost even between the two teams at the end of the first. 

That sense of urgency was severely lacking. They played like they had every all won. And, in a way, they do - I mean, they did clinch a spot in playoffs. But you don't like seeing a team coast into the offseason like that. Not even if they have nothing left to play for.

I'll give it to Buffalo. They wanted this game. Seriously, they REALLY wanted to win this game. And they did. They were playing to stay in the playoff hunt, and it showed. Not just on the ice, but on the scoreboard where it counts.

Maybe the Lightning will feel like playing on Friday - wouldn't that be nice?

The next game is Friday, 8 April, versus the Florida Panthers. This is the last home game of the regular season, so game time is at the regular 7:30 pm Eastern start. If you're not going to the game, then hang out with us here on the Raw Charge game thread, which opens at 7 o'clock.

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