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10/25/2011
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123T
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Lightning rally, then hold off Sabres 4-3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Mathieu Garon didn't let a couple of early goals get him down.

The Buffalo Sabres beat Garon twice on their first three shots Tuesday night at the First Niagara Center -- two more times than they managed in Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Lightning in Tampa Bay. But Garon and the Lightning both rebounded -- the veteran goaltender stopped 35 of Buffalo's last 36 shots, and the Lightning rallied for a 4-3 victory to complete a home-and-home sweep.

"You have to forget about the goals because if you give up another one it's probably over," Garon said. "You just have to worry about the next shot and battle through."

Garon, who was signed as a free agent this summer to back up Dwayne Roloson, is taking an increasing share of the playing time away from the 42-year-old.

"He's definitely a great goalie,"Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier said of Garon. "He's making the big saves and it's been tough to score on him lately. He's really good to begin with, but now he's getting his confidence back so that makes him even tougher to beat. Between him and Roloson, that's a pretty good duo."

Lightning nemesis Thomas Vanek started the scoring for the Sabres when he stole the puck from defenseman Eric Brewer and put a backhander through Garon's five-hole just 1:56 after the opening faceoff. Vanek has now scored 23 goals in 26 career games against the Lightning.

"You have to create offense and you have to do it with speed,"Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think on Saturday night in their place we were playing too east-west, so tonight we wanted to change that."

Just 35 seconds later, the Sabres up 2-0 after Brad Boyes beat Garon with backhander for his first of the season.

"We knew they were going to come out with a strong start, but yet we weren't ready," Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone said. "They were winning the battles and took it to us early. We just tried to keep it simple because we knew there was a lot of game left."

But Tampa Bay settled down after Buffalo's opening flurry, and goals from Lecavalier and Nate Thompson tied the game at 2-2 before the period ended.
The Lightning grabbed the lead at 4:42 in the second, when Matt Gilroy whipped in a shot towards goal and Steven Stamkos redirected it past Ryan Miller for his fourth of the season.

Malone provided what proved to be the winning goal with 1:23 left in regulation -- Boyes fed Nathan Gerbe with 33 seconds left to make it a one-goal game again.

"One of the toughest games I've ever had to coach in the NHL, if not the toughest," second-year Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We didn't come out at first, and we were giving the puck away every two seconds. You're looking at your bench and saying, 'I've got nobody to throw out there.' So slowly we had to build them, one guy at a time."
Miller, making his fourth consecutive start, finished with 19 saves for the Sabres, who have blown leads in losing both of its games at home.
"We got on them hard, we skated well, and did some good things early on," captain Jason Pominville said. "After that, we kind of slipped away from our game."
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