Lightning go for Stockholm sweep of Sabres

Field Level Media

Victor Hedman thoroughly enjoyed hearing the Swedish national anthem in his native Sweden. Hedman and his Lightning teammates gained even more joy from one of their most complete showings of the season.

After opening the Global Series with a 3-2 win on Friday, the Lightning attempt to sweep the event Saturday when they again face the Buffalo Sabres at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.

"That was probably one of the most special things I've experienced as a hockey player, hearing the national anthem before an NHL game," Hedman, who was dealing with a lower-body injury entering Friday, told reporters. "I was really focusing in on that flag and trying to keep emotions in check."

Hedman is the lone Swede on Tampa Bay, which is off to an uneven 7-5-2 start. The Lightning will attempt to win consecutive games for the second time this season after Hedman assisted on Alex Killorn's power-play goal in the first period.

The Lightning also won consecutive games on Oct. 15-17 when they won in Montreal and Boston, but they entered the Sweden trip 2-3-1 in their previous six games.

"It can't just be one game, though," Hedman said. "We have to make this a habit."

Among the reasons for the uneven start is Nikita Kucherov's slow start. Kucherov scored his fifth goal of the season Friday after getting 41 goals and 128 points last season.

"We played a pretty complete game," Killorn said. "And we haven't had that for a big part of the season."

Buffalo is hoping to get back on track and find the form that helped them open up 8-1-1. Since their blazing start, the Sabres are 1-4-1 and have scored only five goals in a four-game losing streak where three of the defeats are by one goal.

The Sabres have six natives of Sweden on their roster in forwards Marcus Johansson, Victor Olofsson and Johan Larsson, defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Lawrence Pilut, and goaltender Linus Ullmark, who made 31 saves Friday.

"Sadly, we couldn't bring it home tonight," Ullmark said. "We've got to just recharge our batteries for tomorrow's battle and come prepared for that and keep playing our game."

Ullmark allowed two of the three goals in the first period while Sam Reinhart scored twice on Friday. Buffalo was held to 22 shots on goal in the game and is averaging 26.3 shots during its skid, a fact coach Ralph Krueger acknowledged after the latest loss.

"Our offense needs to desperately want to shoot more and create more pucks to the net," Krueger said. "We did create chances and we were in their end in opportune situations where we didn't get the shots we needed to create more pressure on their net."

Krueger is also hoping to see Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner get hot again.

Eichel has tallied only three points since a four-point night against San Jose on Oct. 22. Skinner has two points since Oct. 22.

The Sabres will play without right winger Vladimir Sobotka on Saturday. Sobotka left the game in the first period after taking a hard hit from Kucherov and Krueger said he will definitely be out for the second contest in Sweden.

--Field Level Media

What to Read Next