TAMPA, Fla. – Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis kept off the scoresheet? No problem for the resurgent Tampa Bay Lightning.
Steve Eminger and Steve Downie scored 34 seconds apart early in the first period, leading the Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
Lukas Krajicek, Jeff Halpern and Cory Murphy also scored in Tampa Bay’s fifth victory in seven games. Lecavalier and St. Louis, who combined for 14 goals and 22 assists over the previous 12 games, did not have a point.
“It’s nice to get other guys scoring,” Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. “Eighty-two game schedule, you’ve got to have that if you’re going to win.”
Lecavalier and St. Louis did have six combined shots.
“Vinny and Marty carry this team all year,” Halpern said. “Even if they don’t get points or score, I thought those guys tilted the ice for us at times when the other team was pushing. I think the way our team is playing these last few weeks, we’re getting goals as a team.”
Derek Roy scored twice, and Ales Kotalik added a goal for Buffalo. The Sabres lost for the third time in their last 10 games.
“They had their chances and they put them in the back of the net,” Roy said.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who entered 7-1 with a 1.94 goals-against-average in January, gave up five goals on the first 21 shots he faced.
Buffalo defenceman Henrik Tallinder left the game with what could a major shoulder injury.
“Henrik’s not good,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ll probably get him back to Buffalo and that will be looked at, but he’s going to be out for a good period of time probably.”
Eminger scored a power-play goal 4:45 into the game, and Downie put Tampa Bay up 2-0 at 5:19.
Both teams scored three goals and combined for 34 shots in the wild second period.
Roy got the Sabres to 2-1 on a rebound goal 19 seconds into the second.
Krajicek snapped a personal 64-game goal drought – dating to Nov. 29, 2007 – on a flukey goal at 1:23 of the second that made it 3-1. The rebound of his shot went off Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek and into the net.
After Kotalik scored with the man advantage at 4:04, Halpern gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 advantage during a 2-on-1 with 6:08 left in the second.
“I don’t know if we deserved to win tonight,” Kotalik said.
The teams traded late second-period power-play goals. Roy got his second goal of the game at 16:55, and Murphy scored his first goal in 31 games with 5.8 seconds remaining.
Notes: Tampa Bay RW Mark Recchi played in his 1,457th game, tying him with Glen Wesley for 16th place on the career NHL list. Recchi’s two assists Wednesday gave him 1,412 points, two short of tying Doug Gilmour for 16th place. … Tampa Bay recalled D Ty Wishart on an emergency basis from Norfolk of the AHL. He picked his first career point with an assist on Halpern’s goal. … The Lightning reassigned D Kevin Quick to Norfolk.