Tampa Bay (2-3-3) at Buffalo (6-1-2), 7:00 pm EDT
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) — After solving every team in the
early stages of the season, the Buffalo Sabres are now
scrambling for answers.
Hoping to avoid a mild three-game losing streak, goaltender Ryan
Miller and the Sabres host the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning on
Beginning the season with six wins in seven games, Buffalo
suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on
The Sabres then fell for the first time in regulation on Monday,
when the Ottawa Senators skated to a 5-2 victory. Playing in
place of Miller, former Senator Patrick Lalime was the victim of
two goals by Jason Spezza and a power-play tally by Dany
Miller has been terrific, posting a 5-0-1 record and a
league-best 1.60 goals-against average through six games. Left
wing Thomas Vanek has provided plenty of support for the former
Michigan State standout and 2001 Hobey Baker Award winner,
netting eight goals.
The Lightning are coming off an impressive 3-2 win over the
Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, thanks to two goals by captain
Vincent Lecavalier. Mike Smith made 37 saves and has now
yielded more than two goals just twice in six games this season.
The top pick in this past June’s draft, Steven Stamkos recorded
his first career point when he set up Lecavalier’s second goal
of the game. The 18-year-old prized prospect was held scoreless
in his first seven games, and a lack of playing time may have
been the reason.
Coach Barry Melrose has given Stamkos an increase in ice time
over the past few games, however, as the teenager logged 12
minutes, 58 seconds on Tuesday. Stamkos ranked 46th among NHL
rookies before Wednesday with an average ice time of 11:10.
Tampa Bay, which has scored a league-low 14 goals, has yet to
register more than three in a game this season. All eight of
its contests have been decided by one tally.