Dominik Hasek was able to see an entertaining game Saturday night at the First Niagara Center, but Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning spoil his induction as the Sabres fall 4-3 in overtime.
Buffalo got off to a hot start just past midway through the first. Matt D’Agostini netted the first Sabres goal 12:20 into the frame, beating Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop with a slap shot that found the top left corner of the net. Cody Hodgson tallied a score of his own, as Zemgus Girgensons made a beautiful play to cause a turnover, and Hodgson tipped in Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot. The Blue and Gold tried to coast to the second period, and it didn’t pay off as the Lightning rattled off two goals within a two minute frame. Alex Killorn went five-hole on Matt Hackett with 2:08 left to play in the first, and then Steven Stamkos fired a laser past Hackett with just seconds to play to tie it at two heading to the second period.
Although they didn’t score, the Sabres did bounce back well in the second period after the two late Lightning goals in the first. Buffalo minimized Tampa’s scoring chances, and fought off a Johan Larsson penalty late in the second to keep the score tied at two heading into the third.
Coming out flat to start the third, the Sabres drew a penalty but couldn’t do anything with it. The Lightning drew a penalty of their own about halfway through the final frame, but while the delayed penalty was waiting to be called the puck went into the Lightning's empty net – the puck sailed nearly the entire length of the ice. Cory Conacher gets credit for the tally to give Buffalo a very brief lead, as Tampa managed to score on a five on three power play to knot it up at three less than two minutes later.
Heading to overtime, Drew Stafford went to the box one minute into the frame for tripping, and Steven Stamkos fired in his second goal of the game, this time on the power play to give Tampa the 4-3 victory.
The Sabres have now lost 11 of their last 12, and they only have three home games remaining. They’ll host New Jersey at 7:00 PM on Tuesday.
First Period: Goals
BUF – 12:20 – Matt D’Agostini (5) (Rasmus Ristolainen, Johan Larsson)
BUF – 14:07 – Cody Hodgson (17) (Christian Ehrhoff)
TB – 17:52 – Alex Killorn (16) (Nikita Kucherov, Matt Carle)
TB – 19:46 – Steven Stamkos (22) (J.T. Brown, Radka Gudas)
TB – 8:31 – Ondrej Palat (2 min., Interference)
Second Period: Goals
TB – 4:54 – Victor Hedman (2 min., Delay of Game)
BUF – 14:46 – Johan Larsson (2 min., Holding)
Third Period: Goals
BUF – 8:14 – Cory Conacher (7) (Unassisted)
TB – 10:07 – Ryan Callahan (16, PP) (Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos)