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Bolts win back-and-forth battle vs. Buffalo

The Lightning and Sabres traded leads for most of the night but three unanswered goals in the third period lifted Tampa Bay to a 5-3 win on Saturday

by Jacob Lynn /

The Lightning scored three unanswered goals in the third period to pull away late and defeat the Sabres 5-3 in Buffalo on Saturday.

Just like the two teams did back in November, the Bolts and Sabres spent most of the night going back-and-forth.

Brayden Point quickly opened the scoring for the Lightning, capitalizing on a rebound in the slot 26 seconds into the game. Point now has goals in three straight games.

Video: TBL@BUF: Point cleans up rebound for early goal

The Sabres controlled play for the majority of the first period, however, taking a 2-1 lead into intermission on goals from Sam Reinhart and Tage Thompson.

A lot of Buffalo's pressure came from three power plays in the opening period. Tampa Bay was perfect on the penalty kill, though, including a key 33 second 5-on-3 chance for the Sabres.

Tampa Bay equalized eight minutes into the second period on Ondrej Palat's sixth goal of the year. Mikhail Sergachev danced around a Buffalo defender and found Palat open in the slot to wire a shot past Linus Ullmark and tie the game.

Buffalo took the lead right back six minutes into third period. Marco Scandella scored, deflecting a pass from Jason Pominville past Louis Domingue on a 2-on-1.

Nikita Kucherov answered 23 seconds later, taking advantage of a turnover forced by Steven Stamkos as the Sabres couldn't clear their defensive zone. After stopping a clearing attempt up the boards, Stamkos fed Kucherov who then beat Ullmark with a shot from the circle. 

Stamkos gave the Bolts the lead with just over five minutes to play in regulation. Nikita Kucherov skated deep into the Buffalo zone and then dropped a feed to Steven Stamkos to quickly fire a shot past Ullmark.

Video: TBL@BUF: Kucherov feeds Stamkos for go-ahead goal

In his return to the lineup, Ryan Callahan gave the Lightning a two-goal cushion scoring a late power play goal off a feed from Anthony Cirelli.

Making his first start since December 20, Louis Domingue earned the win in goal, making 30 saves.

Tampa Bay faces a quick turnaround as they'll travel to Brooklyn to face the Islanders tomorrow night.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL | 0:26 Brayden Point (29) - Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson
BUF | 5:47 Sam Reinhart (10) - Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin
BUF | 19:50 Tage Thompson (6) - Zemgus Girgensons, Vladimir Sobotka

2nd Period
TBL | 7:50 Ondrej Palat (6) - Mikhail Sergachev, Victor Hedman

3rd Period
BUF | 5:54 Marco Scandella (3) - Jason Pominville, Conor Shear
TBL | 6:17 Nikita Kucherov (22) - Steven Stamkos
TBL | 14:44 Steven Stamkos (24) - Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman
TBL | 18:41 Ryan Callahan (5) - Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn - PPG

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