Sabres 8, Lightning 5

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Derek Roy has no complaints about his offensive production now.

Roy recorded his second-career hat trick—and second in four games—J.P. Dumont had two goals, and Thomas Vanek snapped a third-period tie to help the Buffalo Sabres to a 8-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Roy, who began the season in the minors and had just seven goals in his first 44 games with the Sabres, has nearly doubled his goal production over the last week. He also netted three against Toronto last Friday.

“It’s nice to help the team now,” Roy said. “At the beginning of the year I wasn’t scoring much. Hopefully I can keep plugging away and keep trying to score.”

Paul Gaustad and Ales Kotalik also scored for the Sabres, who won their fourth straight.

Henrik Tallinder and Mike Grier each had three assists, and Roy set up another goal for Buffalo, which swept the four-game season series.

The Sabres held the lead five times in the wide-open game and had 14 players register at least a point.

“It was a bit nerve-racking,” Roy said. “I think we’re a sound team and we play good defensively, but tonight there were bounces going all over the place. We just found a way to win.”

“We’re not going to win every game that way,” Dumont said.

Brad Richards had a goal and three assists, and Ruslan Fedotenko, Vincent Lecavalier, Vaclav Prospal, and Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina had three assists.

The Sabres moved within two points of idle Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead, while Tampa Bay failed to gain ground on fifth-place New Jersey. The Devils have a two-point edge on the Lightning.

“We have to take the positives out of this,” said Richards, who set a career-high with four points. “If we can take anything positive from any game, win or lose, we have to do it.”

Dumont opened the scoring just 27 seconds in, scoring on Buffalo’s first shot against Tampa Bay goalie John Grahame.

Richards and Fedotenko scored power-play goals to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Dumont tied it at 2 while Buffalo had a man-advantage to finish the scoring in the first period.

Gaustad made it 3-2 at 8:04 of the second on a delayed penalty. Lecavalier then countered with his team-leading 27th goal a little over a minute later.

Kotalik gave Buffalo the lead with just more than 4 minutes left in the second on a pretty passing play with Jason Pominville.

Prospal’s power-play goal made it 4-4 at 17:35, but Roy’s short-handed tally with 41 seconds left in the second put Buffalo up 5-4.

The goal chased Grahame, who was replaced by Sean Burke to start the third period. Grahame finished with 11 saves, and Burke made four.

St. Louis made it 5-5 at 8:43 of the third, beating Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller on a 2-on-1 break with Richards.

Vanek’s wrister from the slot off the rush at 10:38 gave Buffalo its final advantage of the game.

Miller made 35 saves in winning his third straight start.

“That was definitely wide open,” Miller said. “It was just one of those nights for me where I felt pretty good most of the time, but still let a few get by me.”

The Lightning have allowed 45 goals in eight games.

“We just have to keep fighting,” Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. “We have to stay together as a team.”

Notes

Sabres forward Tim Connolly and D Dmitri Kalinin were activated from injured reserve before the game and were in the lineup. … Buffalo dealt third-string goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a 2006 second-round pick. … Lightning C Nick Tarnasky was hurt on his first shift of the game and didn’t return. … Tampa Bay’s Evgeny Artyukhin served the final game of a two-game suspension for hitting Ottawa’s Antoine Vermette with Vermette’s helmet on Monday.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
T. Vanek T. Vanek
Buffalo Sabres
Scored at 10:38 of 3rd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Sean Burke LA 6 4