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Special teams lifts Lightning over Buffalo

Bolts go perfect on the penalty kill and add a pair of shorthanded goals in a 5-2 win on Monday

by Jacob Lynn /

Spurred by an incredible special team performance, the Lightning defeated the Sabres 5-2 at Amalie Arena on Monday night.

Tampa Bay was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, scored a power play goal and added a pair of shorthanded goals on the same PK to pick up their third-straight win.

The Lightning and Sabres traded early first period goals.

It took just 13 seconds for Nikita Kucherov to put the Bolts ahead. Taking advantage of a Buffalo turnover and a helpful screen in front of the net, Kucherov wired a shot past Carter Hutton to open the scoring.

Video: BUF@TBL: Kucherov stakes Lightning to early lead

The Sabres equalized three minutes later, on a Sam Reinhart goal. A rebound went right to Reinhart on the left wing and he fired a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy who didn't have time to get properly set up. Reinhart continues to be a thorn in the Lightning's side, after recording four points (3G, 1A) in the pair of games between the two teams earlier this month in Stockholm.

After Jimmy Vesey gave Buffalo the lead, Tampa Bay answered back with a pair of rapid fire goals.

Mikhail Sergachev tied the game at two at 7:20 of the period with a power play goal. For Sergachev, the goal was a nice bounce back after it was his turnover at the offensive blueline that led to Vesey's goal earlier in the period. Tampa Bay kept the pressure up and took the lead 96 seconds later on a redirection goal from Yanni Gourde that would end up being the game-winner.

Another pair of quick goals midway through the third period put the game away for Tampa Bay.

Video: BUF@TBL: Paquette pads lead on shorthanded break

With Kevin Shattenkirk in the box, Cedric Paquette and Mathieu Joseph scored back-to-back shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill. Paquette's came via a nifty forehand move on a breakaway and Joseph finished off a two-on-one feed from Ondrej Palat moments later to give the Lightning a three-goal lead.

Palat led the way for the Lightning offensively, recording a goal and two assists to push his personal point streak to three games. With the primary assist on Paquette's goal, Anthony Cirelli extended his own point streak to five games.

The win was Tampa Bay's third-straight and helps them jump the Sabres in the Atlantic Division standings. With 26 points now on the season, the Lightning also pulled within a point of idle Montreal for the third spot in the division.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL | 0:13 Nikita Kucherov (8) - Ondrej Palat
BUF | 3:40 Sam Reinhart (9) - Victor Olofsson, Jack Eichel

2nd Period
BUF | 1:48 Jimmy Vesey (1) - Unassisted
TBL | 7:20 Mikhail Sergachev (2) - Ondrej Palat, Kevin Shattenkirk - PPG
TBL | 9:26 Yanni Gourde (6) - Ryan McDonagh, Pat Maroon

3rd Period
TBL | 8:17 Cedric Paquette (3) - Anthony Cirelli, Ryan McDonagh - SHG
TBL | 9:06 Ondrej Palat (8) - Mathieu Joseph - SHG

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