GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (11-6-4-1) at Buffalo Sabres (12-12-2-1).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
At least the Tampa Bay Lightning know the reason for their season-high
six-game winless streak.
Struggling to generate much offense, Tampa Bay will try to take out its
frustration on the Buffalo Sabres when the teams meet for the second time this
The Lightning began this season with just two regulation losses in their
first 16 games (11-2-2-1), but a lack of offense lately has been the main
problem during an 0-4-2 skid.
Only captain Dave Andreychuk was able to find the back of the net Thursday
as Tampa Bay lost its third straight, 4-1 to visiting Ottawa.
The Lightning's offensive woes are so bad that they failed to convert a rare
three-on-none breakaway in the second period.
"We developed and created quite a bit of scoring chances, but to me the
most important part of the game is the three-on-none," Lightning coach John
Tortorella said. "I think that's where our team is at right now."
During the six-game streak, the Lightning have scored just six goals and are
2-for-33 on the power play.
"We can't push the panic button right now," center Vincent Lecavalier
said. "We remain a confident team. We are going to be all right."
The Lightning have continued to play well defensively during the winless
streak, giving up 13 goals.
Starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has allowed just nine goals in his last
five starts while backup John Grahame gave up more than two goals for the first
time this season on Thursday.
The Sabres, one of the league's most inconsistent teams, had a three-game
home win streak snapped Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Phoenix after failing to
protect a third-period lead.
"We've got to find a way to win those games," center Adam Mair said. "You
can't be letting a team come back with four minutes left and scoring a goal
against you. We've got to learn from our mistakes."
J.P. Dumont and Daniel Briere each scored their ninth goals of the season
for Buffalo, loser of four of its last five on the road.
Briere's goal was his fourth in the last four games, giving him 15 points in
his last 16 games.
The Lightning had been outscored 22-11 during six straight losses in Buffalo
before going 1-0-1 there last season.