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Tonight’s 7 p.m. contest is the second of four meetings between the new 2013-14 division foes. The Lightning secured the first win, 3-2, against the Sabres in downtown Buffalo with an overtime game-winner by Alex Killorn. The last two meetings between these clubs will be played in March.
The Big Story:
With a Buffalo team who has been dubbed early as a slow-starting team, the Bolts look to carry momentum over from Thursday’s game in which they quickly went ahead 2-0 against Chicago. Both teams are hoping to earn their second straight win entering Saturday’s contest.
LIGHTNING – Confidence is high after the Bolts swept the season series against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Forcing the Blackhawks fifth overtime of the season, Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis recorded the game-winner less than two minutes into extra time for a 6-5 win to improve the Lightning to 6-3-0.
Yet the win, which was a hard fought back-and-forth battle, reminded the young team that they still have some kinks to work out. While the defense was reinvigorated, accounting for some major contributing factors in the game, there is still a need for Tampa Bay to get more shots on net, especially early.
Head coach Jon Cooper said it is quite possible both netminder will see time in net in the Bolts first set of back-to-backs Saturday and Sunday, he kept mum on who would play when.
SABRES – Slow starts have been Buffalo’s Achilles heel this season, scoring just one goal in the first period this year, which ranks last in the NHL, compared to their opponents’ 15 goals in the opening frame. Their lack of offense has also been a cause for concern, as the Sabres have just 17 goals this season (third to last in the league) to go along with a 2-9-1 record.
However, Buffalo’s two wins have both come on the road, including a 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers last night. Starting the game in a 1-0 hole after the first, the Sabres rallied back with three straight goals to capture their first regulation win through12 games.
With Jhonas Enroth nabbing the win in their first half of back-to-back games Friday, Ryan Miller will get the nod between the pipes tonight.
The Lightning defense combined for five points (two goals, three assists) Thursday, while Matt Carle and Victor Hedman scored the blueline’s first goals since a Sami Salo empty netter. Stamkos and St. Louis combined for six points on the night, including St. Louis’ game-winner in overtime.
10/16 – Recalled F Brett Connolly from Syracuse (AHL)
10/19 – Reassigned F Brett Connolly to Syracuse (AHL)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #TBLightning’s @BenBishop30 has won six of his last seven starts.
The #TBLightning rank third in the @NHL with 3.4 goals-for per game.
The #Bolts @RealStamkos91 has 14 points through his first nine games to go along with a plus-7 rating.
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