Perbix's First Goal Leads Lightning Past Sabres 5-3
By Michael Wax
Thanks to a seven-point night from the top line and Nick Perbix's first career goal, the Lightning improved to 7-4-1.
After a two game absence, defenseman Victor Hedman returned to the lineup, replacing defenseman Cal Foote.
This was Buffalo's second game of a back to back, and Lightning took advantage early with a 1-0 lead. Brandon Hagel got the puck in the neutral zone, quickly rushing the puck up the ice and creating a two-on-one with Victor Hedman. After Hegel's pass across did not connect, Hedman
retrieved the puck and found Nick Paul skating into the slot. Paul's one timer beat Buffalo goaltender Eric Comrie for his fourth goal of the season.
Zemgus Girgensons tied the game with less than four minutes left to go in the opening period. Rookie defenseman Owen Power skated in the lightning zone and dumped the puck to the left of Lightning goaltender Brian Elliott. The puck came right out in front, and defenseman Hayden Fleury couldn't corral a bouncing puck, leading Zemgus Girgensons to squeak it by Elliot for his third goal of the season.
The middle frame saw a power play goal by each team to keep the game tied. For the Lightning, their power play once again struggled to gain any sort of offensive zone time, but their rush chance resulted in a goal. Forward Nikita Kucherov feathered a an outlet pass forward Brayden Point, who gave the puck to captain Steven Stamkos as he crossed the blue line before darting for the net. Stamkos outwaited the Buffalo defense before sliding the puck on over to Point, who had gotten behind Comrie and tapped the puck into the open net to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. For Point, it was his sixth goal of the season
After more good play from the Lightning, Pat Maroon took unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for shooting the puck at the linesman after an offsides call. On Buffalo's power play, Owen Power got a clean look at the front of the net, and his shot was tipped in front by Casey Mittelstadt for his second goal of the season.
The third period saw the Sabres take their first lead of the game, as Jeff Skinner was left all alone in front against Elliott. Skinner, who had been robbed multiple times by Brian Elliott to that point, outweighed the veteran goaltender and tucked it in to give the Sabres the lead.
After Buffalo goaltender Eric Comrie had robbed the first line multiple times, including Nikita Kucherov, Kucherov's primary assist helped tie the game. He stole the puck from a Buffalo player, then patiently out waited the Buffalo defenseman on a 2-on-1, but was too far deep and was forced to make the pass to Brandon Hagel. After Hagel initially whiffed on his first opportunity, he
found the loose puck and fired at home to tie the game period.
The first line got another rush chance with less than five minutes left to go in the third period, and it resulted in the game winning goal. Hagel brought the puck across the blue line and left it for Nikita Kucherov, who sent a tiny drop pass to defenseman Nick Perbix. Perbix's shot beat Comrie clean for the rookie defenseman's first NHL goal in just as ninth NHL game.
Kucherov was able to seal the Lightning's victory with an empty net goal, his sixth consecutive game with a goal.
The score and shot totals don't accurately describe how great of a game both goaltenders played, with Eric Comrie keeping Buffalo in it and Brian Elliott making some huge saves in the second and third periods.
1. Perbix (TBL): First Career Goal
2. Hagel (TBL): 1 Goal, 2 Assist
3. Kucherov (TBL): 1 Goal, 3 Assists
The Lightning's next game will be against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday November 8, at 7:30 PM ET.
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