After prevailing in the NHL’s highest scoring game in three years, the Lightning will try to record a rare win against the Sabres and match a season high with their third straight Saturday night at HSBC Arena
Tampa Bay topped Philadelphia 8-7 on Thursday night as Steven Stamkos(notes) had his third career hat trick and two assists. Martin St. Louis(notes) also tied a franchise record with five assists, but the Lightning (10-7-2) didn’t take their first lead until Nate Thompson(notes) scored 5:19 into the third period.
The 15 goals were the most in an NHL game since Tampa Bay fell 9-6 to Calgary on Dec. 13, 2007.
“It’s a game to forget defensively, but we can look at what we did well on the power play and on 5-of-5,” said Stamkos, who has a league-best 19 goals in 19 games. “Things are just going well right now. That’s the character we have on this team.”
Stamkos, who also leads the NHL with 35 points, and St. Louis will try to extend their point streaks to a team-best eight games versus the Sabres, winners in 17 of 20 in the series.
Buffalo, though, enters this matchup having allowed 3.14 goals per game after ranking fourth in that category (2.45) in 2009-10 behind Vezina Trophy winner and Olympic silver medalist Ryan Miller(notes).
The Sabres, though, have started to overcome those early struggles with better performances from their scorers.
Buffalo have outscored opponents 21-20 during its current 5-1-1 stretch after being on the wrong end of a 22-10 margin during a previous 0-4-1 skid.
Derek Roy(notes) has a team-best 10 points (three goals, seven assists) during a seven-game streak, and Thomas Vanek(notes) has three goals and six assists during a six-game run. Roy assisted Vanek on the first of three unanswered goals in Friday night’s 4-2 win over visiting Los Angeles.
The Sabres also scored a pair of power-play goals, giving them four in the last four games after going 7 for 63 with a man advantage in their first 17 contests.
“We just wanted to work hard, be available to each other and get pucks to the net,” said Tim Connolly(notes), who had the tiebreaking goal 2:10 into the third period. “A lot of the games are decided by special teams. Ours are getting better.”
Roy has nine goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games against the Lightning, and recorded his fourth career hat trick in a 7-1 rout March 27. That win was Sabres’ ninth in 11 home games against Tampa Bay and their third in a row.
Vanek has 12 goals and one assist in 10 career meetings there against the Lightning.
Stamkos, meanwhile, has three goals in eight lifetime matchups versus Buffalo but hasn’t scored in the past three. Miller played in two of those games and has a 2.28 goals-against average in three consecutive wins against Tampa Bay.