Since 2013-2014 the Tampa Bay Lightning have enjoyed seeing the Buffalo Sabres on their schedules. Dating back to the 2013-2014 season the Lightning own a 11-2-1 record against the team from up state New York. Goalie Ben Bishop has also enjoyed meeting the Sabres as he owns a 9-0-1 record against them, and tonight was no different.
The Lightning have done something in the last three games they had issues doing early in this young season…scoring early. For the third game in a row the Lightning were able to exit the first period with a one goal lead courtesy of a nice play by Jonathan Drouin’s elusiveness. With the Lightning pressuring deep in the Sabres zone Drouin kept the play alive with his phenomenal puck handling ability. He dropped the puck off to Valterri Filppula who then slipped a pass to Nikita Nesterov who notched his second goal of the season and in as many games. It was the 250th assist of his career, but won’t be the last milestone he reached in the game. Bishop was able to push aside 15 Sabres shots on goal en route to a Lightning first period lead.
Just past seven minutes in the second period Alex Killorn would get back in the goal scoring column with a power play goal assisted by Brayden Point and Filppula. Remember how I said Filppula had two milestones in the game? With Filppula getting his second assist of the night the night he notched 400 career points. Five minutes later Cody Franson would finally get Buffalo on the score sheet with a power play goal of his own. The biggest thing that the Lightning did tonight while on the penalty kill was be aggressive. Even while Buffalo was on the man advantage throughout the game Tampa continued to push into the offensive zone testing the Sabres at every opportunity. With 18 seconds left in the 2nd period Nikita Kucherov would do what Nikita Kucherov does and extend the Bolts lead again by two. While early indications on the play made it seem Tyler Johnson tipped the puck at the last minute. Kucherov would ultimately be credited with the goal on the final score sheet.
Tampa refused to take their foot off the peddle early in the 3rd registering a few chances on Robin Lehner. The Lightning would get back on the score sheet until two minutes remained in the final period. Brayden Point would get his 2nd goal of the season ( And of his career) on a power play opportunity late in the 3rd. Point would also notch a career first in tonight’s game by having his first multi point game of his career (1 goal 1 assist). Tampa would once again show their dominance on the power play in this game scoring on 2 out of three opportunities.
The Bolts have started off this five game road trip 3-0-0 and improving to 6-4-0 on the road this season. Saturday the team will head to the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.
3 Stars of the Game
#1 – Ben Bishop: Made a highlight real save that would have made the Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria proud en route to a 32 save night only allowing one goal.
#2 – Alex Killorn: Got back in the goal scoring column following a 10 game lay off. Also notched an assist on Kucherov’s 9th goal of the season.
#3 – Brayden Point: This kid has done EVERYTHING thats been asked of him. Tonight he had his first multi point game of his career.