Thu, 09 Dec 2021

Lightning seek stronger start against Sabres

Field Level Media
25 Oct 2021, 04:19 GMT+10

The Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Buffalo Sabres on Monday with both teams looking to take care of business over the full 60 minutes of play.

Both are coming off productive but disappointing showings on Saturday -- forced to go to extra time and getting a point but failing to come out on top.In their home contest with the Colorado Avalanche, the Lightning tied the match 3-3 for the third time late when Brayden Point scored, but in a rare occurrence, the visitors found a way to get the best of elite goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the shootout.

Entering the session with a 15-4 career mark in shootouts, Vasilevskiy allowed three of six shots to get by, including Cale Makar's quick forehand winner in the bottom of the sixth round to keep the Lightning winless on home ice (0-2-1).

Tampa Bay lost three at home to start the season for the first time since 2008-09 and have yet to net the contest's first tally, score a first-period goal or even lead in regulation.

"We're going to be in games like this, a lot," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "We just need to find a way to turn the tables. We did it the other night in Washington (in overtime), but we didn't do it tonight."

Since the Lightning have not led this season, chasing the game has become a major issue for Tampa Bay, which started a stretch of three games in four nights on Saturday.

They rallied three times against Colorado, but playing from behind is burdensome.

"There are games you don't get the lead in, it just so happens to be the first five of the year," added Cooper. "But give our guys credit, they picked up five points. That's a good sign."

After playing in Buffalo, Cooper and the squad will travel to Pittsburgh for Tuesday's meeting with the Penguins, who won 6-2 in Tampa in the season opener almost two weeks ago.

The Lightning recalled Swedish defenseman Fredrik Claesson from AHL affiliate Syracuse on Saturday.

Despite losing to the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in overtime Saturday, the Sabres are off to a strong start with three wins and seven points in their first five games.

However, the loss in Newark was their second consecutive after dropping a 4-1 decision at home to the Boston Bruins.

First-year coach Don Granato said his group was an angry bunch after tasting defeat for the first time.

"The vibe feels good -- they feel angry," Granato said. "I don't mind an angry team. It wasn't quiet, guys didn't have their heads down. They wanted better and didn't perform to their standard."

Through the first five games, defenseman Colin Miller paces the club with five points -- all assists.

Forwards Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons and Victor Olofsson each have produced two goals and two helpers.

Goalies Craig Anderson (2-1-0, 2.01 GAA) and Dustin Tokarski (1-0-1, 1.40) have provided a solid foundation in net as the club's new tandem.

The Sabres called up forward Brett Murray from AHL affiliate Rochester before Saturday's game but scratched the 23-year-old Bolton, Ontario, native.

Buffalo will start a four-game West Coast swing in Anaheim on Thursday and end it in Seattle against the Kraken a week later.

--Field Level Media

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