Not your Doormat Sabres

By on October 17, 2015

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay LightningTampa, Fla.–  “We’re fortunate,” said Lightning head coach John Cooper after the Lightning’s 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at the Oil Can.  “It was kind of embarrassing,” said game winning goal scorer Alex Killorn.   But throughout the game my thoughts were, ‘Wow this is not the doormat Sabres from last year.’

(SIDE NOTE) Look for this Sabres team to make a playoff run this year under first year head coach Dan Bylsma.

Three shots on goal in the first period was all the Tampa Lightning could muster vs. last year’s NHL doormat the Buffalo Sabres.  Did the Tampa Bay Lightning overlook the Sabres?  John  Cooper thinks not saying, “Too many guys in the room respect the league… they’re a good team.”

The Sabres came out and pushed the tempo in the first, pelting Ben Bishop with what seemed like shot after shot.  Notching 16 shots in just the first twenty minutes is what the ex-doormats did.

And early in,  the second shot just 2:52 in, lit the light.  Tyler Ennis the forechecking machine steals the puck from Valtteri Filppula,  Ennis shoots and Bishop makes the save.  Ennis follows up behind the goal and centers the biscuit to Sam Reinhart who puts it past Bishop for Reinhart’s first goal of the year.

Ben tightens the reins and ends up with the number two star and 31 saves.

The  number one star, Alex Killorn scores the game winner on a power play in the third with under four minutes left.  Killorn was patient as he took a pass from across the slot from Tyler Johnson.  With Buffalo goalie Chad Johnson out of position, Alex waited with puck on his tape for defenseman Mike Weber to over commit on the block attempt.  Puck meets back of net sending the pink towel waving Bolts fans into a frenzy raising the Oil Can lid.  “It was a scramble in front of the net, Johnny (Tyler Johnson) made a great play … I knew the goalie was out of position, I think it was Weber in front of the net, I just kind of wanted to wait up.”

The tying goal for the Lightning was in the 2nd stanza at 13:41 an even strength unassisted breakaway by Vlad Namestinkov.  “He’s (Namestinkov) hanging in there,” said John Cooper. “A huge goal to tie the game.”

The Lightning were 1 for 4 on the power play while killing off all three of Buffalo’s power play attempts.  Cooper commented, “Tonight we won the special teams war.”

A big come from behind win as the Lightning head out of town on a four gamer – Nashville, Winnipeg, Chicago (no shocker a NHL Network telecast) and St. Louis before coming back to the Oil Can October 29th to host the Colorado Avalanche.

Catch up on all the Lightning recaps, previews and notes with myself and the Hockey Hottie as well as Lightning expert media guests on the radio show, afternoons 2-4 eastern time on the Tan Talk Radio Network.

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