Skip to main content
game recap

Lightning defeat Sabres for third straight win

Ben Bishop makes 32 saves, Nikita Kucherov scores ninth goal of season in victory

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Ben Bishop made 32 saves and Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Bishop made 15 of his 32 saves in the first period and the Lightning got their third straight win.

"You're never going to turn your back on three in a row," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But it was the Ben Bishop show all the way. He must have made six 10-bell saves in the first few minutes of the game."

Bishop's best save came when he turned the puck over in his own zone to Sabres forward Kyle Okposo 3:20 into the second period. Bishop attempted to pass through the middle of the ice, but Okposo intercepted it and shot it toward an empty net. He scrambled back in front of the net and caught the puck in his glove.

"I was just trying to get back as fast as I could," Bishop said. "It was a good save, but it was a bad turnover so I don't know which way you want to look at it. Little bit of luck involved there."

The Lightning (11-6-1) have won four consecutive games in Buffalo for the first time since March 19, 1995 to Oct. 15, 1996. The Sabres (5-8-4) have lost three straight in regulation and are winless in the past six games (0-4-2).

Killorn gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal 7:39 into the second period. He received a backhand pass from Valtteri Filppula as he skated to the net and took a wrist shot that beat Sabres goalie Robin Lehner high for his seventh goal of the season. Killorn also got an assist on Nikita Kucherov's ninth goal of the season with 18 seconds left in the second period. It was Kucherov's fourth goal in the past three games.

Lightning rookie forward Brayden Point made it 4-1 with a power-play goal with 2:00 left in the third period.

"You've got to be really happy for guys that need to step up now that [Steven Stamkos] not in the lineup and I was really happy for [Point] to get that one at the end," Cooper said. "We're going to need guys, we're going to need balanced scoring throughout the lineup and it was good to see those guys do well."

Nikita Nesterov gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 8:15 into the first period when he skated in from the blue line, received a pass from Filppula and put a shot past Lehner.

Sabres defenseman Cody Franson scored his first goal of the season, and the first by a Sabres defenseman, with 7:10 left in the second period on the power play that cut the Lightning lead to 2-1.

 
Goal of the game

Killorn's first goal in 11 games was the game-winner. It came after a backhand pass from Filppula on a rush through the Sabres zone.

Video: TBL@BUF: Killorn buries Filppula's great feed for PPG

 

Save of the game

Bishop wasn't just making saves diving out in front of the net, he also made them with his neck. Bishop trapped a high wrist shot from Matt Moulson with 9:17 left in the first period up high and held onto the puck in his equipment.

Video: TBL@BUF: Bishop hangs on to Moulson's shot up high

 

Highlight of the game

Bishop's save on Okposo in the second period took away what would've been a sure Sabres goal 3:20 into the second period.

Video: TBL@BUF: Bishop dives back to net to rob Okposo

 

Unsung moment of the game

Jonathan Drouin had an assist on Nesterov's goal. He returned to the Lightning lineup after missing the past seven games with an upper-body injury. Drouin replaced Stamkos in the lineup after the Tampa Bay captain underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. He's expected to miss four months.

Video: TBL@BUF: Nesterov puts home one-timer from Filppula

 

They said it

"We've scored 11 goals in the last nine games and you're not going to win many games if any scoring like that. We've got to find a way to create more and not even create more, just bear down and bury them, just get hungrier. And I think that's the theme. It must be a joke right now. If you score two goals against the Buffalo Sabres, you're going to win the game. And we've got to end that." -- Sabres left wing Evander Kane

"Obviously we're going to miss [Stamkos]. He's a great leader. It's just one of those things where you've got to step up. Everyone has to pick up the slack a little bit. You're going to miss a lot of goals and a lot of points there so everyone has to chip away. You've got to go more as a team effort because you can't rely on your big dog to come through. It's got to be a team effort and tonight was a good example." -- Lightning goalie Ben Bishop

 

Need to know

Filppula got his 250th assist and 400th point in the NHL. … Buffalo had been 18-for-18 on the penalty kill at home before Killorn's power-play goal in the second period. … The Sabres gave up two power-play goals. … Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges played in his 700th NHL game. … Bylsma coached his 500th NHL game.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, CSN-PH, SUN, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, ROOT, NHL.TV)

Video: Condensed Game: Lightning @ Sabres

View More