BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Steven Stamkos had a goal and assist, and the resurgent Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday night for their seventh win in 10 games.
Mathieu Garon made 26 saves, and Steve Downie also scored during the Lightning's two-goal second period. Tampa Bay (24-24-6) is on a 7-1-2 roll and has earned at least a point in a season-high four straight road games (3-0-1).
Jason Pominville scored Buffalo's lone goal7:07 into the third period in a game in which the Sabres came out flat while playing for the third time in four nights. The Sabres managed 13 shots through two periods and 27 overall. The Sabres desperately trying to climb back into the picture were unable to get any points, something they simply cannot afford at this point of the season. Once again a slow start helped doom the Sabres."Every night is a must win for us. We gotta find ways to get points and tonight our start wasn't good enough and we didn't deserve points. We gotta put this behind and look at what's ahead of us and get some rest and get ready for Tuesday because is another one we can't let slip."
Buffalo failed to earn a point for the first time in seven games (5-1-1), and lost in regulation at home for the first time in 11 (6-1-4), dating to a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 10. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said after the game that Sabres margin for error shrinks a little more with every loss. "We don't have many losses that we can put out there anymore. As I see it there's probably seven or eight losses available for us out of the next 29, 28 games to be realistic. That's just the way it is."
The Sabres are home against New Jersey Tuesday night.