|Date of game: 1/9/2015
Recap: Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Steven Stamkos scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
Valtteri Filppula also scored and Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Lightning, who have won seven of their last eight games to tie idle Anaheim and Nashville with an NHL-high 58 points.
"They were getting a little bit tired ... we just kept pressing," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Cody McCormick provided a short-handed goal and Michal Neuvirth kept the Sabres in the game by stopping 45 shots in the team's seventh straight loss.
"So close. We were working hard," said Neuvirth. "Tough to swallow right now, but thought we gave it our best."
Stamkos accepted Jonathan Drouin's cross-ice feed off a 2-on-1, waited for Neuvirth to go down and cooly shot the puck over the Buffalo netminder to account for the final score with 5:18 remaining.
The Sabres pulled the netminder with under a minute to play, but were unable to come up with the equalizer.
Tampa Bay needed just 3:51 to open the scoring. Ryan Callahan emerged from behind the net and attempted to stuff the puck past Neuvirth. The disc squirted across the crease to Filppula, who backhanded it over the sprawling netminder for the game's first goal.
McCormick tied the score with a short-handed marker just 50 seconds into the second period. After Anton Stralman misplayed the puck along the boards in the Tampa Bay zone, Patrick Kaleta slipped the puck toward the slot and McCormick was there to beat Bishop with a quick wrister.
The Lightning peppered Neuvirth with 27 shots during the middle stanza, but the game remained tied.Game Notes
Bishop improved to 6-0-1 against the Sabres in his career ... McCormick
tallied his first career short-handed goal ... The Lightning are 3-0-1 against
the Sabres this season and will play host when the season series concludes on