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game recap

Lightning reach 90 points with OT loss to Sabres

Pominville scores on power play after Rodrigues ties game in third period

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Jason Pominville scored a power-play goal 1:26 into overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Lightning highlights]

 

Pominville scored from the left circle after Adam Erne was called for an illegal check to the head with 20 seconds remaining in the third period.

"I think my first one-timer was a better shot but [Vasilevskiy] made a nice save," Pominville said. "I was able to get another one through and I think it just got through, he probably didn't see it. It was nice to be able to get the extra point."

Cory Conacher scored for the Lightning (43-17-4), who are the first team in the NHL to reach 90 points this season. They lead the Atlantic Division by five over the Toronto Maple Leafs with two games in hand.

Video: BUF@TBL: Conacher lifts in rebound to open scoring

"There was one team that looked like they are getting close to making the playoffs and preparing to play in the postseason and the one team looked like they weren't," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Take that from there which team was which."

Chad Johnson made 21 saves, and Evan Rodrigues scored for the Sabres (20-33-11), who are 3-1-0 in their past four games.

"We got the result we deserved tonight," Johnson said. "I thought we played a really good game. We hit a lot of posts and had some opportunities, so it was nice to get that win in overtime."

Rodrigues tied the game 1-1 with 8:13 left in the third period with a wrist shot through a screen.

"I think we [had] all 20 guys pulling in the right direction," Rodrigues said. "We didn't have anyone cheating on the wrong side of the puck. We stuck with our game plan. As the game wore [on], we didn't try cheating for offense. We all stuck to the defensive side of the puck, and when you do that you wear the other team down and you get rewarded."

Conacher gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 18:03 of the first period. He controlled the rebound of a shot by Dan Girardi and chipped the puck on the follow up.

"We tried to create some energy by mixing things up there, but I don't know exactly what our problem was tonight," Conacher said. "We probably were not supporting each other enough like we should. We weren't as predictable as we were against the [Maple] Leafs (in a 4-3 shootout win Monday) and the emotions weren't there as well."

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for Tampa Bay.

Video: BUF@TBL: Vasilevskiy dives, sweeps puck away

Forward J.T. Miller made his Lightning debut after being acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade Monday. He played 17:40 with four hits and won five of eight face-offs.

"I felt comfortable, I knew a handful of these guys already and played against them all for a long time," Miller said. "I do know that this team expects better than what we gave tonight and I expect a good bounce-back game tomorrow."

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, the leading scorer in the NHL (82 points), was scratched with an upper-body injury.

 

Goal of the game

Pominville's goal at 1:26 of overtime.

Video: BUF@TBL: Pominville scores on power play in OT

 

Save of the game

Johnson's save on Adam Erne at 8:00 of the second period.

Video: BUF@TBL: Johnson shuts down Erne twice in front

 

Highlight of the game

Rodrigues' goal at 11:47 of the third period.

Video: BUF@TBL: Rodrigues ties it in the 3rd

 

They said it

"Everybody really played good defensively. Our defensive gaps were really tight and we didn't [give] up too many second opportunities with the exception of that goal. I've got to hand it to our guys, they really played hard and took away time and space against a really good hockey team." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

"We just went in to Buffalo and lost two weeks ago (5-3 on Feb. 13) and we just played them again and lost. You would think that a team that beat you just recently, I don't know if there is any more motivation than we now have them in our home building and let's take care of business regardless of who you played the game before, that is irrelevant to me. It's a consistency thing and it's game to game, you have to bring it every night." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

 

Need to know

The Sabres are 5-0-1 in their past six games against Atlantic Division opponents. ... Pominville scored his fifth overtime goal for Buffalo, tying him with Daniel Briere for third in Sabres history. Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek each scored six. ... The Lightning had 30 hits with Miller, Girardi and center Cedric Paquette each having four.

 

What's next

Sabres: At the Florida Panthers on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-F, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Lightning: At the Dallas Stars on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, SUN, NHL.TV)

Video: Sabres tie game in the 3rd, beat Lightning in OT

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