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Sabres 3, Lightning 1

The SportsXchange

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday at the First Niagara Center.

Tyler Ennis, Jochen Hecht and Kevin Porter scored for the Sabres, who improved to 18-19-6. Jhonas Enroth, who received his second consecutive start in net in place of Ryan Miller, had 32 saves.

Buffalo's 42 points put the Sabres four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently held by the New York Rangers -- though the Rangers have two games in hand on Buffalo.

Benoit Pouliot scored for the Lightning, who fell to 17-22-3. Mathieu Garon had 19 saves.

The Sabres struck first on the power play at 4:09 of the first after some pretty passing in the Tampa end. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff found Thomas Vanek to the left of the crease with a between-the-legs pass, and Vanek found a wide-open Ennis on the other side of the net with a no-look, backhand pass. Ennis converted for his 10th goal of the season and his first goal in 12 games.

Hecht made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second period with his fourth goal of the season. Hecht's wrist shot from the right circle hit Garon under the goalie's left arm and went into the net.

Buffalo increased its lead to 3-0 at 12:37 of the second on Porter's fourth goal of the year. After Porter missed teammate Brian Flynn on a 2-on-1 chance, Flynn came right back and fed Porter for a tap-in.

Tampa Bay got one back just under one minute later on Pouliot's redirection in front of the Buffalo net. Pouliot deflected Eric Brewer's shot from the left point.

NOTES: The Sabres made no changes to their lineup after a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Ville Leino (upper body), Tyler Myers (broken bone in leg) and Luke Adam (healthy) were Buffalo's scratches. ... Nate Thompson and Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched for the Lightning. Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback remains out with an ankle injury. ... This was the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. ... This was the 77th game in history between Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Heading into Sunday's game, the Sabres led the series with a 48-23-5 record.
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