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Buffalo Sabres 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 FINAL SO @NHLdotcom

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres got their road trip off to a good start.

Daniel Briere and Thomas Vanek scored in the shootout to give Buffalo a 4-3 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

``Anytime you get a road win it's exciting ... but if you beat the Stanley Cup champions in their building it's a good boost,'' Vanek said after the Sabres won the opener of a three-game trip.

Tampa Bay is about to find out what life on the road is like.

The Lightning (2-2-1) play three games away from home after opening the season with four of five at the St. Pete Times Forum.

``I'm very disappointed in the outcome,'' Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis said. ``I think we've fought it a little bit. Tonight was better. I think it will be good to get our team on the road and spend time together.''

The Sabres won the shootout 2-0 as goalie Ryan Miller stopped St. Louis and Brad Richards.

``I like that kind of challenge,'' Miller said. ``It's a fun challenge for goalies.''

Maxim Afinogenov's waist-high deflection of Toni Lydman's shot got Buffalo even at 3 with 8:47 left in the third period. Briere and Paul Gaustad also scored for the Sabres, who played the final 1:48 of overtime with a two-man advantage after the Lightning received three minor penalties. Buffalo got only one shot during the stretch.

``That was disappointing, but we made some poor decisions,'' Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. ``They brought their triangle in real low and we still kept trying to squeeze plays. When you see a team collapse as much as they did, it would have been better for our guys to shoot.''

Tampa Bay got goals from Richards, Vincent Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal. Lightning coach John Tortorella, who was unhappy with the work ethic in a 4-2 loss to Boston on Monday, said the Lightning took a step forward.

``From where we were before this game to after this game, there are a lot of positives,'' Tortorella said. ``The team battled hard. We have to build off of that.''

Gaustad tied the game at 10:16 of the second period and Prospal gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead when he skated through the slot and scored on a wrist shot at 13:51.

Briere put the Sabres ahead 1-0 when he scored on a rebound of his own shot 5:15 into the first. Tampa Bay tied it on Richards' goal at 8:14.

Miller had 32 saves, two more than Tampa Bay's John Grahame.

Notes: The Lightning went 13-1-3 in October the previous two seasons. ... Sabres C Adam Mair (groin strain) could be activated from injured reserve for Saturday's game at Florida. ... Lightning LW Ruslan Fedotenko left the game with what the team called a lower body injury. He will re-evaluated on Friday. ... The assist for Tampa Bay's Darryl Sydor ended a 10-game, regular season scoring drought. ... Buffalo has ended the first period tied in four of five games this season. ... Lightning D Timo Helbling assisted on Lecavalier's goal for his first NHL point.

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