Thomas Vanek had the lone goal and Lalime recorded 20 saves for the Sabres, who have dropped two of their last three games.
Tampa Bay got the eventual game-winning goal with 8:34 left in the second, when Lalime tried to clear a dumped puck but miss-played it. Hall swiped the puck away near the left face off circle and wristed it past the recovering goaltender.
Buffalo took a 1-0 lead 4:52 into the game when Vanek intercepted a pass at mid-ice and rushed toward the slot. He ripped a shot that went under Smith’s leg pads for the unassisted goal.
Tampa Bay knotted the game at 1-1 when Pavel Kubina crossed the puck deep into the zone to Randy Jones, who then centered it. Purcell used his stick to redirect the puck at the top of the crease and it slipped past Lalime with 1:50 left in the first.
Buffalo looked to have regained the lead early in the second period when Tim Connolly swiped at a bouncing puck from the left side of the goal. He got just enough of the disc for it to roll into the net, but the goal was called off because of an illegal hand pass.
The Lightning fended off the Sabres’ empty-net attack the final 38 seconds to capture the win.
The Sabres had won 11 of the last 13 contest between the two clubs, including a four-game sweep last season…Steve Stampkos has 19 goals in the season’s first 20 games…The Sabres out-shot Tampa Bay 30-22…Paul Gaustad had three penalties for Sabres, while Dominic Moore had two for the Lightning.
11/20 22:16:17 ET