The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their winning streak to four games, which is their longest streak during this regular season. They’ve also won 12 games in a row against opponents from the Atlantic Division.
The Lightning started the game slowly. The Sabres had an opportunity to open the score during first minutes when Sam Reinhart was left in front of the net, but Andrei Vasilevskiy denied a shot. During the first period, the Bolts really struggled in the neutral zone and let the Sabres create dangerous shots around their net. The most dangerous offensive moments for the Bolts came after efforts from the Brayden Point line and Mikhail Sergachev, but the Lightning still went scoreless and shortly before the end of period, allowed a goal by Conor Sheary.
The second period started with another conceded goal by Marcus Johansson, a little bit later Ondrej Palat converted a chance on the power play, but the Sabres returned into the game quickly, scoring two goals, including beautiful shorthanded goal by Jack Eichel. Between these two goals, Mikhail Sergachev got into a fight with Jack McCabe.
After that moment, the Lightning accelerated and at the end of the period,had already cut the Sabres lead from 4-1 after the Eichel goal to 4-3 following goals by Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson.
During the last period, the Bolts scored three unanswered goals and survived a couple of penalty kills to complete the comeback. Kevin Shattenkirk tied the game, Alex Killorn scored his second to give the Lightning the lead, and Anthony Cirelli scored an empty netter to make it 6-4.
After a several months of being outside of the playoffs, the Lightning returned to third place in the Atlantic division. Their series against divisional opponents continues, as the Bolts face the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens this week.
The Sabres dominated over the Lightning during the first period, controlling 72% of the shots and generating 1.03 expected goals. The Bolts managed to return into the game in the second period and controlled the game till its end. But if you’re looking just at the numbers, it will be like a tight game as the Lightning had a 50.71% expected goal share and a 45.76% shot share.
After allowing a goal by Jack Eichel, there was a feeling that the game was basically over and the Lightning lost another chance to return in a playoff spot. But eventually, they got together and played almost perfectly from the middle of the second period till the end of the game. Alex Killorn continues to amaze this season, having already seven multipoint games this season. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli had also a multipoint night.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 stops tonight. Some of these stops were very important but he probably would have still wanted a couple of the goals back.
Ondrej Palat (Tyler Johnson, Mikhail Sergachev)
Alex Killorn (Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov)
Tyler Johnson (Ondrej Palat, Ryan McDonagh)
Kevin Shattenkirk (Tyler Johnson, Anthony Cirelli)
Alex Killorn (Pat Maroon, Cedric Paquette)
Anthony Cirelli (Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos)
P.S. Mikhail Sergachev’s fight