Sabres-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 26, 2013
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been quick to bounce back from disappointment this season, sometimes within the same game. It hasn't been as easy for the Buffalo Sabres, who hope a rare victory will help them begin a climb from the Atlantic Division basement. Tampa Bay seeks a fourth win in five tries as it hosts Buffalo on Saturday night. The Lightning (6-3-0) have yet to lose back-to-back contests after putting a 5-0 loss to Boston last Saturday behind them to beat defending champion Chicago 6-5 in overtime Thursday. They faced some adversity to do so, though. Steven Stamkos' second goal gave Tampa Bay the lead with 2:29 left in the third period, but a seemingly harmless Matt Carle pass from the neutral zone bounced off Radko Gudas' skate and into the net past goaltender Ben Bishop just 40 seconds later. Captain Martin St. Louis scored 1:16 into OT for the victory. ''We got the win after all, even if something like that happens," said Gudas, who assisted on St. Louis' goal. Coach Jon Cooper said it was a testament to his team's resiliency. Defenseman Victor Hedman, who was a minus-5 against Boston, finished with a goal and an assist versus the Blackhawks. "In this league you play 82 games, you have to be able to turn the page and that's what Victor did," Cooper said. "He's very coachable. He's got that youthful exuberance and wants to learn." Tampa Bay now will turn its attention to its first of 12 back-to-back sets, as it visits Florida on Sunday. Cooper already has looked ahead at the schedule and doesn't find it to be very favorable. "All of a sudden we took a quick peak at November and we're just petrified looking at those teams," Cooper said. "Then you look at December and it's non-stop. Everybody in the league is exceptional." Few would put Buffalo in that category, though it is coming off a 3-1 victory at Florida on Friday. The Sabres (2-9-1) were outshot 45-21, but Rasmus Ristolainen and co-captain Steve Ott scored before Cody Hodgson added an empty-netter as they snapped a three-game skid. Buffalo's only lead of the season prior to Friday was for 9:35 of a 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 8. "Hopefully we can start building on that," said Jhonas Enroth, who made 44 saves. "This is a special feeling, winning the game instead of losing when you play good.'' The Sabres played without John Scott, who was suspended indefinitely pending an in-person hearing after delivering a blow to the head of Boston's Loui Eriksson on Wednesday. "Watching the video, I kind of regret the whole situation," Scott said. Patrick Kaleta served the seventh of a 10-game suspension, and his appeal to have it reduced was denied Thursday. Ryan Miller, who is 1-7-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average, likely will be back in net for this contest. He did not start the first meeting with Tampa. Cooper hinted both Bishop and Anders Lindback would get starts in the Lightning's back-to-back set, though he didn't specify who would start when. Bishop, 6-1-0 with a 2.53 GAA, made 21 saves in the last matchup with Buffalo.
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