Nikita Kucherov scored 13 seconds into the game, Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat scored shorthanded goals 49 seconds apart in the third period, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves as the Lightning defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Monday night at Amalie Arena.
The fans were rocking from the jump as a riveting National Anthem and ceremonial puck drop on Hockey Fights Cancer night had the crowd in a frenzy. Kucherov kept the fans on their feet by snapping a quick shot from the top of the right circle over the glove of Buffalo goalie Carton Hutton just 13 seconds into the game to give Tampa Bay the 1-0 advantage.
From there, the Sabres had some pretty good opportunities in an effort to tie the game, and they did just that with a Sam Reinhart goal at the 3:40 mark of the first.
Buffalo took the lead in the second on a costly turnover by Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
After a faceoff win, Sergachev tried to slide the puck over to Braydon Coburn for the shot but it didn't have enough juice on it. The Sabres' Jimmy Vesey poked the puck free to spring himself for a breakaway and he scored on Vasilevskiy to put Buffalo ahead 2-1.
Luckily for the Lightning, Sergachev made up for it pretty quickly.
Following a high sticking penalty to the Sabres' Johan Larsson, Sergachev threw one on net that Hutton could barely see because of the Patrick Maroon screen in front and it found its way through to tie the game at two.
But the Lightning were not done.
Just over two minutes later, Ryan McDonagh threw a shot on net that was tipped deftly in front by Yanni Gourde and past Hutton to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead.
Buffalo was itching for the equalizer but shorthanded goals by Paquette and Palat gave Tampa Bay some ever-important insurance tallies.
Dahlin Hurt : In the second period Buffalo's young star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was hit in the face with an inadvertent elbow by Erik Cernak and left the ice immediately. It was announced in the third period that he would not return with an undisclosed injury.
The Streak Is Over : Anthony Cirelli scored in the third period on a breakaway to make it 6-2, but after a review the call on the ice was overturned. The referees said that Cirelli's skate pushed Hutton's pad back over the goal line and it prevented him from making the save. That disallowed goal meant that Cirelli's four-game goal streak came to an end.
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Palat) - 0:13
- Buffalo - Reinhart - (Olofsson, Eichel) - 3:40
- Buffalo - Vesey - (Unassisted) - 1:48
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Sergachev - (Palat, Shattenkirk) - 7:20
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (McDonagh, Maroon) - 9:26
- Tampa Bay - SHG - Paquette - (Cirelli, McDonagh) - 8:17
- Tampa Bay - SHG - Palat - (Joseph) - 9:06
- Buffalo - Hutton - (Tripping) - 16:02
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (High Sticking) - 2:56
- Buffalo - Larsson - (High Sticking) - 5:34
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (High Sticking) - 12:08
- Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Tripping) - 17:07
- Tampa Bay - Larsson - (Holding) - 20:00
- Buffalo - Scandella - (Hooking) - 6:13
- Tampa Bay - Shattenkirk - (Tripping) - 8:07
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Wednesday night as they host the defending champion St. Louis Blues at Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm with the pregame show starting at 6:00pm on NewsRadio WFLA.