5 Takeaways from Lightning vs. Sabres

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning responded following a disappointing outing Saturday night against the Boston Bruins with a resounding victory Tuesday night over the Buffalo Sabres. Nikita Kucherov led the way with a hat-trick as Tampa Bay rolled over the lowly Sabres 6-1.

Tampa Bay has now won three of their last four games after being held without a win in their previous three games. The third victory of this stretch also marked the third win by a lopsided score as those wins combined for a +13 goal differential.

Let’s break down how it happened.

1. Kucherov’s Hat-Trick

Nikita Kucherov recorded his first goal in his third game since returning last Thursday. Kucherov would end up adding two more in the game and scored the only Lightning goal of the third period to make it 6-1. The hat-trick was the fourth of Kucherov’s career and his first since March 2017 in Boston. Kucherov earned one hat on the ice on the road from the sparsely populated KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

2. Pally Stays Hot

Ondrej Palat got the scoring party started early in the first period after settling down a high pass from Victor Hedman. Palat finished off the rush for what would be his fifth goal and sixth point in his last four games. Palat looks to be well on his way to a career high in goals as he now has 15 in 38 games. His career high was set in his rookie season, scoring 23 in 81 games. Pally’s big year will earn him another contract at the end of this year, which unfortunately, may not come in Tampa Bay.

3. Piling on in the Second

After ending the first period up 2-0, Tampa Bay buried Buffalo in the second. Malcolm Subban came into the fire to replace the injured Ukko-Pekka Luukonen in the Buffalo net to start the middle period. Tampa Bay would push across three goals in the period to pile on and put the game out of reach, including two goals from Nikita Kucherov in the period.

4. Kucherov Calls His Own Number on the Powerplay

Ever since returning from his injury, Kucherov has definitely looked to pass more than to shoot. His slap pass has been a go to over the last several games. But with the Lightning powerplay scoreless in their last 10 chances, Kucherov called his own shot in the Lightning’s second chance on the man advantage. He fired a wrist shot from the left circle past Subban for what was the first shot he saw since entering the game.

5. 10 Players Record a Point

It was a point night all around in Buffalo as 10 different Lightning skaters recorded a point in the victory. In addition to Kucherov’s three points, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn both had three-point nights of their own. Everybody was getting in on the action as the Lightning rolled to their 24th win of the season.

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