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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres Preview: Bolts Look to Keep It Going

SBNation Tampa Bay previews the Lightning-Sabres matchup.

When: October 22nd, 7pm

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida

Media: Sun Sports (TV HD), 970 WFLA radio

After going five games without it, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally tasted victory for the second time this season with a dominant 4-1 over the New York Islanders, The Lightning (2-3-2) look to keep the positive momentum going against the talented Buffalo Sabres (5-1-0).

This is the first meeting between the two clubs this season after splitting last season 2 games a piece.

There's been no word yet on who the starter will be for tonight's game but its likely to be Mathieu Garon. Garon is making a bid to get more playing time and in his limited opportunities he's played well, putting up a 1-1-1 record, 1.93 goals against and a .938 save percentage.

Garon has struggled against Buffalo, though, going 1-7-0, with a 3.61 goals-against average and an .878 save percentage. Dwayne Roloson's no better, going 0-7-1.

Tampa Bay will also find it challenging to get goals against one of the league's best in Ryan Miller, who will be between the pipes for Buffalo. Miller is off to another great start with a 4-1 record, 1.61 GAA and a 950 save percentage.

Buffalo swept their first road trip of the season (4-0) and look to with their fifth straight on the road. The Sabres have also owned the Lightning in Tampa, beating them 10 of the last 12 trips to the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Sabres are ranked 8th in the NHL on the power play (21.0%) and 6th on the penalty kill (90.5%).

The Lightning continue to struggle on special teams, ranking 17th on the PP (15.4%) and 21st on the PK (81.6%)

The key to this hockey game will be the Lightning's ability to stay out of the penalty box. Tampa Bay broke their skid by having to kill just two penalties against the Isles. The Lightning also had their best defensive effort of the season, limiting New York to just 17 shots on goal.

Prediction: I'd expect a low scoring, defensive chess match but considering the success that Buffalo has had in Tampa, is playing superb on the road and has owned both Lightning goalies - I have to go with Buffalo. Sabres win 3-1.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.