TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning are now heading in the right direction.
Martin St. Louis scored a nifty goal, Mathieu Garon earned his 20th NHL shutout, and Tampa Bay beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night.
St. Louis made several stick-handling moves on Ryan Miller after getting the puck while alone in the low slot, and lifted a shot over the goalie to make it 2-0 with 11:30 left.
“Of all my goals in my career, I can’t say there’s too many that it’s just me and the goalie with that much time,” St. Louis said.
Even Miller was impressed by St. Louis’ skill.
“I thought I let him go far enough so where he couldn’t come back,” Miller said. “He made a nice move.”
Victor Hedman added an empty-net goal, which St. Louis assisted on.
Garon made 21 saves to post his first shutout in 34 games, dating to Nov. 20, 2010, against San Jose. He is 2-8 against Buffalo.
“Hard to say I didn’t like him,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said.
Pavel Kubina also scored for the Lightning, who have won two in row following a five-game skid.
“We needed to put together back to back wins,” St. Louis said.
Sabres left-wing Thomas Vanek had his season-opening, six-game point streak snapped. He had six goals and 10 points during the stretch. Buffalo dropped to 4-1 on the road this season.
“We didn’t win the battles, and that’s why we lost the game,” Buffalo left wing Ville Leino said.
Kubina put the Lightning ahead 1-0 when he beat Miller from just inside the blue-line at 4:51 of the second. Miller, coming off a 22-save shutout in Buffalo’s 3-0 win Thursday at Florida, fell to 17-5 against the Lightning.
Garon stopped an in-close chance by Derek Roy during the first period. He has won two straight starts in place of the struggling Dwayne Roloson, who is 1-2-1 with a 5.11 goals-against-average.
“I don’t play for shutouts,” Garon said. “It doesn’t matter if we get a shutout. All I want is a win, and we got it.”
Roloson keyed Tampa Bay’s run to the Eastern Conference finals last season, in which the Lightning lost in seven games to Boston.
Boucher said he was undecided if Garon or Roloson will start Tuesday night’s rematch at Buffalo.
The Sabres had just five shots during the third period.
“It’s one of those nights where we didn’t deserve the points, and we didn’t get them because we didn’t create enough,” Buffalo right-wing Jason Pominville said.
Notes: Miller stopped 23 shots. … Jim Craig, the goalie for the gold-medal winning 1980 United States Olympic hockey team, was at the game. … Sabres C Tyler Ennis left after playing just one shift due to an ankle injury. His status will be evaluated on Sunday. … Tampa Bay D Marc-Andre Bergeron had his five-game point streak (two goals and six assists) end. … Vanek entered with 22 goals in 24 games against Tampa Bay. He had three shots and finished minus-2.