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Lightning beat Sabres 4-1 for seventh straight win against Buffalo

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov scored in the first period and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Buffalo 4-1 on Thursday night for their seventh straight win over the Sabres.

Tampa Bay's early barrage chased goaltender Linus Ullmark, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for the Lightning. Victor Hedman added an empty-net goal.

The Lightning had lost five of their previous six games, and this was their first multi-goal victory since Oct. 12. Tampa Bay is 3-0 against Buffalo this season.

Rookie star Jack Eichel scored his fifth goal of the season for Buffalo.

Stamkos scored 5:55 into the game, with Johnson netting one shortly after the midpoint of the first and Kucherov scoring with 1:40 remaining.

Chad Johnson replaced Ullmark and stopped all 10 shots he faced.

The Sabres have outshot their opponents in 10 of 13 games but are 4-6 in those contests.

Stamkos scored after beating Ryan O'Reilly's backcheck to receive a cross-ice pass from Valtteri Filppula. Stamkos put a hard snap shot past Ullmark's late-arriving glove.

The Sabres' power play was stymied by Vasilevskiy early, with O'Reilly's slap shot kicked away. Matt Moulson was denied twice from the slot.

Johnson beat Ullmark low after a give-and-go with Alex Killorn.

Vasilevskiy shouldered away David Legwand's partial breakaway chance late in the period.

Soon after, Kucherov lifted an in-tight rebound over Ullmark, who was sprawled on the ice after losing sight of the initial shot.

Buffalo pulled Ullmark, and then the Sabres put six shots on Vasilevskiy in the first 3 minutes of the second period.

Eichel scored when he snared Mike Weber's pass off the left boards and fended off a hook from Andrej Sustr, using Braydon Coburn as a screen to beat Vasilevskiy.

The Sabres came close to narrowing the gap on a late power play, but Tyler Ennis allowed Vasilevskiy to recover his empty net before firing wide of the goal.

Chances were few and far between for both teams in the third, but Vasilevskiy stopped Legwand on a short-handed breakaway and then denied Eichel moments later.

NOTES: Sabres D Carlo Colaiacovo missed the game with an upper-body injury. ... Tampa Bay LW Tye McGinn was scratched, while brother Jamie played on Buffalo's fourth line with Sam Reinhart and Legwand.

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