|Date of game: 12/31/2014
Recap: Buffalo vs. Tampa Bay
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Ondrej Palat posted a goal and three assists to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist, while Matthew Carle and Brett Connolly also scored for the Lightning, who have won their past four.
"Our goals against have been going down and when it comes down to March and April, you really need to have your defensive play down," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper.
Andrei Vasilevsky needed to make just 10 saves to secure the win.
Tyler Ennis had the lone goal for the Sabres, who have dropped their past two and six of seven. Jhonas Enroth allowed all five goals on 25 shots.
"We couldn't get out of our end and they had the puck most of the third," said Ennis. "When they have the puck for as long as they did we're not going to get many shots."
With the score tied in the second, the Lightning took a 2-1 lead on the power play as Tyler Johnson sent a pass from the right wing to the left where Palat's quick wrister beat Enroth to the left corner with 58 seconds left.
At 5:20 of the third, Tampa gave itself some insurance as a bouncing puck in front was backhanded home by Connolly for his seventh of the season.
Buffalo didn't record its first shot of the third until there was just under five minutes to play, and Kucherov capped the scoring with his second of the game at 18:05.
Carle scored the first goal of the game at 7:48 of the first, while Ennis got Buffalo on the board via the power play after his blast from the top of the right circle hit off the stick of Tampa's Victor Hedman and went in at 12:33 of the first.Game Notes
Tampa continues its four-game road trip in Pittsburgh on Friday ... Buffalo
hosts Florida on Friday ... Johnson finished the game with three assists ...
Buffalo was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Tampa went 1-for-3 ... Buffalo
came into the game dead last in the NHL in shots for, while Tampa was second
in shots allowed.