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Thomas Vanek scores twice in Sabres' 4-2 win over Lightning

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek scored twice, including his league-leading 22nd goal, in Buffalo's 4-2 comeback win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, the Lightning's ninth straight defeat.

Vanek snapped a 2-2 second-period tie with his second goal of the game on the power play, sending the Sabres to their third straight win.

Jason Pominville had a goal and two assists, and Drew Stafford also scored for Buffalo (14-11-3). Ryan Miller made 26 saves in his fifth straight start.

Martin St. Louis and Mark Recchi scored for Tampa Bay (6-14-8), which blew a 2-0 first-period lead. The Lightning, the worst team in the league with 20 points, dropped to 0-7-2 during their current drought.

Tampa Bay is 1-7-4 since firing Barry Melrose in mid-November.

Mike Smith made 33 stops, including several acrobatic saves that kept the game close in the second period.

The Lightning opened the scoring on St. Louis' eighth of the season midway through the first period. From the right circle, St. Louis one-timed rookie Steven Stamkos' pass past Miller.

Tampa Bay made it 2-0 six minutes later after Recchi banged home a rebound of Paul Ranger's slap shot for his seventh goal.

Buffalo closed the gap with 38 seconds left in the first period when Stafford cruised into the high slot before redirecting Jaroslav Spacek's pass on the power play.

Vanek tied it with 8 minutes left in the second period, scoring on a breakaway after a slick pass from Ales Kotalik, then gave Buffalo its first lead with a nifty backhand from in tight on the power play.

Pominville capped the scoring with an empty-net short-handed goal with 13 seconds left in regulation.

Notes: President Clinton was in attendance as a guest of Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano. ... Tampa Bay right wing Adam Hall was scratched because of an upper-body injury, and Zenon Konopka was recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on an emergency basis. Konopka didn't get to the arena until after the game had started, and missed most of the first period. ... Lightning forward Ryan Malone missed his third straight game because of an upper-body injury. ... It was Vanek's sixth two-goal game this season. ... Buffalo beat the Lightning 4-3 four days ago.

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