TAMPA – surprise, surprise. After a terrible break from three defeats by non-playoff teams, the Buffalo Sabers went on Thursday night against the best NHL of the best.
But even the unexpected answer did not win.
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov scored on penalties the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 win over the Sabers in Amalie Arena. Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt were stopped for the Sabers.
With the defeat, the Sabers (28-24-8) returned their fourth series in a row (0-3-1), while Tampa Bay won eighth place in a row. The lightning did not lose regulation in February and go 10-0-2. They improved to 47-11-4 and pushed their NHL peak to 98. They are at 129, which would be three less than Detroit's 1
Call: Carter Hutton has done Yeoman's work for the Sabers and made 39 appearances in a game he had planned as a backup. No one was taller than the runaway, stopping the defender Victor Hedman, who won the Norris Trophy, in the last minute of OT.
The Sabers' plans changed when Linus Ullmark suffered an inaccurate minor injury during the team's optional morning skate. The team announced the injury a few minutes before the warm-up before the game, and Ullmark served Hutton as a support.
Opening Results: The Sabers got the first goal of the match as Rasmus Dahlin scored his seventh of the year with a left-wing shot fired from the goalpost past Tampa Bay goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy. Jack Eichel earned his 45th assistant of the season in the game and built his career last year with his 64th point.
Bolts Will Be Balanced : Tampa Bay Made a Buffalo Mistake to Achieve Binding When Nikita Kucherov once played at home, Tyler Johnson paused 2-1 at 11:10 , The game started when Evan Rodrigues' back pass from Zach Bogosian was at the feet of the Buffalo defender, who rebounded and sent Tampa Bay into the break. Dahlin was the only man who could not block the Johnson Pass.
Spirit of 100: The Kucherov goal was his 30th goal of the season and gave the NHL leader 100 points. He was the first player in Lightning history to have scored several seasons with 100 points. He was also the first Tampa scorer, who scored over 30 goals and over 70 assists in the same season. Kucherov is the only member of the Lightning Hall of Famer to join Martin St. Louis and win the Art Ross Trophy as League Leader.
Another historical footnote: Kucherov became the first NHL player to score 100 points in 62 games or less since Mario Lemieux had made it to 61 games in 1996-97 for Pittsburgh.
Good work on the PK: The Sabers killed all three penalties against them, not less Against a powerplay from Tampa Bay that came into play with 30.2 percent of its chances, it's a feat. This is the leader in the league this year and would be the fourth highest ever, if the number would hold until the end of the season.
Break: Sabers minstrel Rick Jeanneret remains behind for his annual holiday season. He is scheduled for the next six games and returns to the microphone for the March 7 game in Chicago. As usual, when Jeanneret does not attend a game at home or on the road, Dan Dunleavy takes over duties alongside analyst Rob Ray.
Up Next: The Sabers should fly back to Buffalo immediately after the game and will train Friday at HarborCenter. They host defending Stanley Cup champions Washington Capitals for the only time this Saturday on Saturday. It will be the last match before the NHL deadline on Monday.