Nick Perbix scored the game-winning goal -- his first in the NHL - and Nikita Kucherov registered a four-point night as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres 5-3 on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.
Ever since he's been in the lineup Perbix has looked cool, calm and collected.
And tonight he was rewarded.
The Bolts rookie defenseman took a feed from Kucherov and snapped one past Buffalo netminder Eric Comrie with 4:55 left on the clock to give Tampa Bay a lead they would not relinquish.
Kucherov scored an empty-netter with just under a minute left to seal the deal for the Lightning.
The game got off to a pretty good flow with each time getting a couple looks but nothing major, until the Lightning opened up the scoring at 7:07.
Nick Paul -- who left Thursday night's game with an undisclosed injury -- came off the bench and took a feed from Victor Hedman -- who missed the last two games with an upper body injury -- and rifled one past Comrie to give Tampa Bay 1-0 lead.
Zemgus Girgensons got Buffalo on the board at 16:24 of the first after a puck bounced over the stick of Haydn Fleury in front & the Sabres winger quickly snapped one past Lightning goalie Brian Elliott to tie the game at one apiece.
The score stayed that way until the 5:05 mark of the second period, when Brayden Point cashed in on the power play.
As Tampa Bay's star center sped into the Buffalo zone, he executed a beautiful give-and-go with Steven Stamkos and re-directed the Captain's feed by Comrie to put the Lightning up 2-1.
The Bolts lead didn't last all that long, because Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt scored on the power play by deflecting an Owen Power shot from the point at 8:34 to the score at two.
Buffalo took their first lead of the night when Jeff Skinner scored at 4:25 of the third to make it 3-2, but the Lightning answered right back with a Brandon Hagel goal just over three minutes later at 7:40 to put the teams back even.
Elliott had 21 saves in net for Tampa Bay.
Comrie stopped 25 of the 29 shots he saw for Buffalo.
- Tampa Bay - Paul - (Hedman, Hagel) - 7:07
- Buffalo - Girgensons - (Power, Thompson) - 16:24
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Point - (Stamkos, Kucherov) - 5:05
- Buffalo - PPG - Mittelstadt - (Power, Okposo) - 8:34
- Buffalo - Skinner - (Tuch, Cozens) - 4:25
- Tampa Bay - Hagel - (Kucherov) - 7:40
- Tampa Bay - Perbix - (Kucherov, Hagel) - 15:05
- Tampa Bay - ENG - Kucherov - (Point) - 19:02
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Slashing) - 13:46
- Buffalo - Thompson - (Tripping) - 0:31
- Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Hooking) - 2:18
- Buffalo - Cozens - (Tripping) -
- Tampa Bay - Maroon - (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) - 7:19
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Tuesday night as they welcome the Edmonton Oilers to Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:30pm.
PHOTO : Getty Images