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Photo courtesy of The AP

Stamkos scores winner for Tampa

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- Welcome once again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, high atop ice level at First Niagara Center. This is one of the last times in the 2013-14 season that I will type that sentence. Many folks will be happy to be through one year of suffering, and you can count myself and Brian Koziol in that group.

Matt Hackett was hung out to dry by his teammates on Thursday night. The young netminder only lasted one period against the Nashville Predators, but Ted Nolan is going right back to Hackett tonight. One of the pieces of the Jason Pominville trade, Hackett has 1 win in three games for Buffalo (1-2-0). Zemgus Girgensons is back after an 11 game absence. The NHL rookie will take the place of Ville Leino. For more from today's morning skate, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.

Feel free to comment in the thread below, and I will add my two cents along the way. Also, be sure to give Brian and myself a follow on Twitter for more: @BrianWGR and @PatWGR.

First Period

17:10 - I think both teams are trying to get their legs underneath them after Dominik Hasek's Sabres Hall of Fame ceremony. Buffalo has the only shot on goal, and neither team looks very sharp off the hop. 

13:00 - Seven minutes into the game and the Sabres have the only 3 shots on goal. If you can believe it, the Lightning look even more disinterested in this game that Buffalo. 

11:29 - The first penalty of the night goes to Ondrej Palat and the Lightning. Let's see if Buffalo can take advantage.

9:04 - So much for the idea of Buffalo getting on the scoreboard first with the man advantage. No real solid action for the Sabres with Palat serving his minor. Shots on goal are 6-1, Buffalo.

7:26 - SABRES GOAL. What a snipe into the top left corner of the net by Matt D'Agostini to surprise Ben Bishop and score. Bishop reacted at least a second after the puck cranked off the bar and across the line. 1-0 BUF.

5:53 - SABRES GOAL. Cody Hodgson went to the net after Zemgus Girgensons gave the extra effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Hodgson deflected Christian Ehrhoff's point shot into the goal to double the lead. 2-0 BUF.

2:08 - LIGHTNING GOAL. That is one that Matt Hackett would want to have back. Alex Killorn's shot along the ice went 5-hole on the Buffalo goaltender and brings the visitors within a goal. 2-1 BUF.

:13.6 - LIGHTNING GOAL. Steven Stamkos stuns the Sabres and their fans with just seconds to go in the opening stanza. All of a sudden we have a tie game heading to the break. 2-2 tie.

End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: 12:20 - Matt D'Agostini (5) (Rasmus Ristolainen, Johan Larsson). 14:07 - Cody Hodgson (Christian Ehrhoff)
TB: 17:52 - Alex Killorn (16) (Nikita Kucherov, Matthew Carle). 19:46 - Steven Stamkos (22) (J.T. Brown, Radko  Gudas)

Penalty Summary

BUF: none
TB: 8:31 - Ondrej Palat (2 min., interference)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 8, TB - 9

Second Period

18:10 - It has been a nice bounce back for the blue and gold after surrendering the two late goals last period. They do not have any shots on goal yet, but it is not for a lack of effort. Girgensons is throwing his body around, which is always nice to see.

15:15 - A trio of chances in front of the net by the Girgensons-Hodgson-Brian Flynn line nearly gave the team their third goal of the night. Bishop stood tall and came across his crease to keep this game knotted 2-2.

9:12 - This has been a much more entertaining period on the whole than the opening stanza. Both teams have had quality scoring chances, and there has been a decent flow to the first 11 minutes of the period. Shots are 9-8, Buffalo.   

4:25 - Johan Larsson was called for the Sabres first penalty of the night. We will see if the Lightning seize the momentum late in this period, just like they did in the first.

2:54 - Mission accomplished for the blue and gold. Larsson is out of the penalty box, and this game is still tied at 2-2. Each team has 10 shots on goal, as well.
End of Period

Goal Summary

BUF: none
TB: none

Penalty Summary

BUF: 14:46 - Johan Larsson (2 min., holding)
TB: 4:54 - Viktor Hedman (2 min., delay of game)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 12 (20), TB - 13 (22)

Third Period

15:40 - This period does not have the excitement of the second. Even with a power play chance early, the Sabres have been flat.

11:47 - SABRES GOAL. Cory Conacher is in the penalty box, but while the delayed penalty was waiting to be called the puck went into the Lightning's empty net. I have never seen this in person at the NHL level before. 3-2 BUF.

9:53 - LIGHTNING GOAL. Ryan Callahan was camped in front of the Buffalo net and is able to shovel the puck across the goal line and even this game at 3. Tampa is outplaying Buffalo this period, and it is starting to show. 3-3 tie.

4:37 - Tampa continues to hold the edge in shots and chances this period. I get the feeling that they are just 1 shot away from picking their first lead of the night, and game winner. 

1:00 - Looks like this one is headed for 5 extra minutes.

End of Regulation

Goal Summary

BUF: 8:14 - Cory Conacher (7) ENG (unassisted)
TB: 10:07 - Ryan Callahan (16) PPG (Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos)

Penalty Summary

BUF: 8:14 - Cory Conacher (2 min., hooking). 9:14 - Mike Weber (2 min., cross checking)
TB: 1:07 - Steven Stamkos (2 min., tripping)

Shots on Goal

BUF - 8 (28), TB - 10 (32)


3:07 - LIGHTNING GOAL. Steven Stamkos redeems himself for delivering the back pass that resulted in the Buffalo goal on the delayed penalty. He gets the game winner and sends Sabres fans home disappointed. 4-3 TB.

End of Game

Tampa Bay 4, Buffalo 3 FINAL/OT

Final Thoughts

I honestly do not know what to think of a game like this one. Both teams came out sluggish and sloppy to start, but then Buffalo got a pair of goals and looked to be in command. A shaky two minute stretch squashed that, and never took Tampa out of the game. The wacky delayed penalty "own goal" that Steven Stamkos scored on his own net is the highlight of the game. Just three home games left for the blue and gold. Buffalo hosts the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. The puck drops just over seven o'clock on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550. Pregame coverage with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog begins at 6 p.m.

Filed Under :  
Topics : Sports
Locations : Buffalo
People : Brian KoziolMatt HackettPaul HamiltonTed Nolan