Lightning 4, Sabres 3

Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

As Mathieu Garon goes, so do the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bolts net minder made 36 saves of 39 shots to help Tampa Bay complete a home and home series sweep of the Buffalo Sabres following a 4-3 win on Tuesday night at the First Niagara Center.

Photos: Lightning at Sabres
Highlight:  Vinny Sweeper
Highlight:  Thompson Goal
Video:  Malone Breakaway
Statistics: Game Summary
Statistics: Season Stats
Tickets: TBL vs. WPG 10/29

Making his third consecutive start in goal after registering his 20th career shutout on Saturday, Garon tightened up after allowing two goals on Buffalo’s first three shots, giving Tampa Bay a chance to erase an early two-goal deficit and win its third straight.

“He’s definitely a great goalie,” Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier said. “He’s making the big saves and it’s been tough to score on him lately. He’s really good to begin with, but now he’s getting his confidence back so that makes him even tougher to beat. Between him and Roloson, that’s a pretty good duo.”

Lecavalier cut the opening-period deficit to one at 13:03 after a pair of Buffalo goals just 35 seconds apart mired Tampa Bay in an early 2-0 deficit to start the game.

Brad Boyes, playing in his 500th consecutive game, doubled the Sabres lead at 2:31 after Thomas Vanek opened the scoring with a nifty backhand through the five hole of Garon. With Eric Brewer caught out of position along the boards, Vanek played the puck right around the Lightning defenseman to notch the game’s opening tally at 1:56.

“You have to create offense and you have to do it with speed,” Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff said. “I think on Saturday night in their place we were playing too east-west, so tonight we wanted to change that.”

Nate Thompson, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone also scored for the Lightning, who conclude a two-game road trip in Nashville on Thursday.

Despite the quick start, all was lost when the trio of Lightning forwards helped Tampa Bay score four unanswered goals to take what seemed like a commanding 4-2 lead in the game’s final minutes.

Buffalo, following a three-game win streak that was snapped in Tampa Bay on Saturday, has now lost two straight. The Sabres have surrendered leads in both of their losses at home this season.

Thompson’s goal in the final minute of the opening frame sparked the come-from-behind rally when his centering pass deflected off Christian Ehrhoff’s skate in front and past Ryan Miller to send a 2-2 tie into the first intermission.
Tampa Bay then took its first lead of the game at 4:42 of the second period after Matt Gilroy fired a shot from the left point that was redirected by Stamkos, giving the Lightning a 3-2 advantage.

A late goal by Nathan Gerbe restored the one-goal margin just 33 seconds after Malone made it 4-2 with what proved to be a crucial insurance goal at 18:37 of the third.

Garon, though, came up with a number of key saves in the game’s final 50 seconds despite a late flurry of Sabres scoring chances in Tampa Bay’s own defensive zone.

Miller finished the night with 19 saves for Buffalo.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
01:56BUF Thomas Vanek (7) ASST: Jason Pominville (8), Luke Adam (4) 1 - 0 BUF
02:31BUF Brad Boyes (1) ASST: Cody McCormick (1), Matt Ellis (1) 2 - 0 BUF
13:03TBL Vincent Lecavalier (4) ASST: Martin St. Louis (5) 2 - 1 BUF
19:00TBL Nate Thompson (2) ASST: Tom Pyatt (1), Dominic Moore (3) 2 - 2 Tie
2nd Period
04:42TBL Steven Stamkos (4) ASST: Matt Gilroy (3), Marc-Andre Bergeron (8) 3 - 2 TBL
3rd Period
18:37TBL Ryan Malone (3) ASST: Brett Clark (2) 4 - 2 TBL
19:10BUF Nathan Gerbe (2) ASST: Brad Boyes (2), Paul Gaustad (1) 4 - 3 TBL
Three Stars of the Game
Mathieu Garon
Mathieu Garon
SA: 39TOI: 60:00
GA: 3EV: 34-37
PIM: 0PP: 2-2
SV%: .923SH: 0-0
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 19:00
Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 3
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:26
Penalty Summary
1st Period
09:12BUF Thomas Vanek  Hooking against  Adam Hall
13:20BUF Patrick Kaleta  Fighting (maj) against  Steve Downie
13:20TBL Steve Downie  Fighting (maj) against  Patrick Kaleta
2nd Period
04:37BUF Robyn Regehr  Roughing against  Ryan Malone
04:37TBL Ryan Malone  Roughing against  Robyn Regehr
05:12TBL Nate Thompson  Tripping against  Drew Stafford
09:39TBL Victor Hedman  Hooking against  Thomas Vanek
11:15BUF Drew Stafford  Tripping against  Dominic Moore
3rd Period
06:27BUF Cody McCormick  Interference on goalkeeper against  Mathieu Garon
14:07TBL Vincent Lecavalier  Hooking against  Luke Adam
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/30/3
Faceoff Wins2636
Blocked Shots147
Penalty Minutes1313
2E. BrewerD0001022:19
4V. LecavalierC1014217:19
7B. ClarkD0100019:04
9S. DownieR00-10513:08
11T. PyattC0101011:59
12R. MaloneL1003213:03
13P. KubinaD0001020:19
14B. ConnollyR0010015:17
16T. PurcellL00-13011:37
18A. HallR0011012:40
19D. MooreC0101017:16
26M. St. LouisR0112020:11
44N. ThompsonC1002217:48
47M. BergeronD0110018:07
49B. JonesC00-1007:18
77V. HedmanD0000220:47
91S. StamkosC1014018:26
97M. GilroyD0110015:22
32M. Garon3639.92360:00
3J. LeopoldD0003016:15
8C. McCormickC011226:45
9D. RoyC00-13020:05
10C. EhrhoffD00-11023:51
17M. GragnaniD0020017:18
21D. StaffordR00-11216:21
22B. BoyesR1121012:16
23V. LeinoL00-20015:56
24R. RegehrD00-10219:46
26T. VanekL1004219:00
28P. GaustadC0103013:33
29J. PominvilleR01-14021:29
36P. KaletaR0003512:30
37M. EllisL011106:49
42N. GerbeC1016013:19
44A. SekeraD0001019:33
57T. MyersD00-22022:08
72L. AdamC01-14015:56
30R. Miller1923.82659:10