BUFFALO – The Tampa Bay Lightning have shown signs of life in extra time, winning their second straight when needing more than 60 minutes, in a 4-3 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday at First Niagara Center.
Steven Stamkos fired a slap shot past Buffalo goaltender Matt Hacket in overtime while on the 4-on-3 power play to give the Bolts the win.
Prior to back-to-back wins in overtime and a shootout decision over the Islanders Thurday, the Bolts had lost four straight when the contest went past 60 minites.
Tampa Bay has now collected points in 11 straight games, while earning their 20th road win for just the fourth time in franchise history.
"It's a good stretch we're on right now," Ryan Callahan said. "We're going to have to continue to do that, fix things as we go and pick up points as we can."
The Sabres outshot the Lightning 6-1 to start the game and took advantage of the their slow start by jumping ahead to a 2-0 lead.
"We were doing a lot of things we were trying to avoid," Alex Killorn said. "We wanted to play a good defensive game and avoid turnovers, but we came out flat."
Matt D'Agostini scored the first of a pair of Buffalo first period goals with a top shelf-wrister on Ben Bishop at 12:20 of the first for a 1-0 lead. Then Tampa Bay's Michael Kostka was stripped of the puck in the defensive zone by Zemgus Girgensons, which led to Buffalo's second goal of the game. Girgensons fired a pass to Christian Ehrhoff, who sent the puck toward the Lightning net. Cody Hodgson redirected it in past Bishop at 14:07.
"We showed desperation at the end of the first to tie the game though," Killorn said.
Within 1:47 the Lightning found themselves tied with the Sabres to end the first. Killorn was fed a pass from Kucherov in front of the net for the score at 17:52. It was Killorn's first goal in 12 games. With 13.6 seconds left, Stamkos made it 2-2 off of a pass from J.T. Brown.
Tampa Bay seemed to settle down in the second period as the score remained knotted at two.
Early in the third, while back-checking on a delayed Sabres' penalty, Stamkos tried to pass the puck to Kostka, but missed his target. The puck then bounced off the boards and caromed into the Bolts' own net to give Buffalo a 3-2 lead. Cory Conacher was credited with the goal, being the last Sabre to touch the puck.
The Bolts remained on the power play. After a minute passed with Conacher in the box, Mike Weber was penalized and gave the Lightning a 5-on-3 opportunity. With seconds left on the two-man advantage, Ryan Callahan evened the game at three with 10 minutes left in the contest. It was his third consecutive goal from in front of the net.
The Bolts went to their fourth straight overtime, but no shootout was needed this time around. Drew Stafford took a penalty 59 seconds into the extra frame, which left room for the Lightning's Stamkos to score the power-play game-winner at 1:53 of overtime for a 4-3 final.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay will play the Detroit Red Wings Sunday afternoon before opening up a six-game homestand Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Lightning have won all four matchups against the Red Wings this season, including both at Joe Louis Arena.