Lightning Win Third Straight With 4-3 Win Over Sabres

Mathieu Garon earned his third consecutive start as the Tampa Bay Lightning face the Buffalo Sabres in the second night of a home-and-home.

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Lightning Take 3-2 Lead On Sabres After Second Period

The Lightning started to back off of the aggressive forecheck in the early minutes of the second period and had a few turnovers before Steven Stamkos chipped one in after being set up by Matt Gilroy (who was originally credited with the goal). Stamkos’s goal, which gave the Lightning its first lead of the game, was sparked by Ryan Malone and Robyn Regehr dropping gloves a few minutes prior, although the two didn’t have much of a fight, and were only sent off with two minute roughing minors.

Tampa Bay is really lucky to have the lead in this game, especially after allowing Thomas Vanek to have a couple of insane scoring opportunities, including a breakaway for Vanek that probably should have resulted in a penalty shot, but instead drew a hooking call on Victor Hedman. Vanek already has three shots in the game.

Neither team allowed many shots in the second period (Tampa Bay had five and Buffalo had seven), but the Lightning have to stop allowing Vanek to become open all alone and allowing him to get any sort of scoring opportunity. This guy already has 11 goals on a young 2011-2012. This needs to be the number one focus for the Lightning going into the third period or it could get out of hand fast.

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Lightning Tied 2-2 After First Period In Buffalo

The first period was a bipolar one of sorts for the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the first 10 minutes of period, the Lightning defense looked very shaky and had way too many turnovers that forced Mathieu Garon to stand on his head in net. Unfortunately, two Buffalo shots went in within 35 seconds of each other.

The first goal was scored by Thomas Vanek at 1:56 of the first period. Vanek now has 11 points on the 2011-2012 season. The second Buffalo goal was scored by Brad Boyes, who scored after a lucky bounce off of the boards.

The Sabres were absolutely dominating the forecheck for the majority of the first period but the Lightning got back into it showcasing some impressive forecheck of their own. Brett Connolly showed some forecheck pressure that set up an impressive Martin St. Louis pass to Vincent Lecavalier, who scored his 800th career point at 13:03 of the first period.

Steve Downie and Patrick Kaleta traded fighting majors, as Kaleta previously was jawing with Connolly.

Garon gave up some juicy rebounds in the final minutes of the first period, but the Sabres were unable to get any past him. Thankfully, Nate Thompson put one past Ryan Miller with only a minute left in the first period to tie the game at two.

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