Series (Game 2 of 4)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 22nd
Game 2: Tuesday, October 25th
Game 3: Saturday, February 11th
Game 4: Monday, March 19th

Lightning 4

(4-3-2, 10 pts)

Sabres 3

(5-3-0, 10 pts)

Coverage: NBCSN

7:30 PM ET, October 25, 2011

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
TB 2 1 14
BUF 2 0 13

M. Garon (Lightning - G): Saves: 36, Save Pct.: .923

T. Vanek (Sabres - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Stamkos (Lightning - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Lightning-Sabres Preview


The Buffalo Sabres started their four-game road trip with three consecutive wins before losing the finale to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They didn't have to wait long for an opportunity to exact revenge.

Playing at First Niagara Center for just the second time this season, Buffalo looks to continue its home domination of Tampa Bay as the teams conclude a home-and-home set Tuesday night.

The Sabres (5-2-0), who outscored opponents 9-3 during the first three stops on their trek, couldn't get any of their 21 shots past Mathieu Garon in a 3-0 loss to the Lightning on Saturday.

"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," captain Jason Pominville said.

After opening their season with a pair of wins in Europe, the Sabres suffered a 4-3 home-opening loss to Carolina on Oct. 14 before heading out on the road.

"We really got away from our game the last home game, and we talked about that in (Monday's) meeting," coach Lindy Ruff told the Sabres' official website. "We need to be the team that wins the majority of the puck battles, and establish that this is going to be an awful tough building to come in to."

The Lightning (3-3-2) surely haven't enjoyed too many of their recent visits to Buffalo, where the Sabres have gone 20-6-0 with one tie in the last 27 meetings in this series.

While Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher was more than pleased with his team's result Saturday, he knows that sweeping this two-game set won't be easy.

"I still believe they're top-three in the league, I really do," he said. "They're outstanding out there. Goaltender's great, defense is extremely solid now and I've always liked the way their forwards play. We're gonna stay humble here, we're playing them next and they're a hockey machine and we're gonna have to be really prepared for (Tuesday)."

The Sabres, however, won't be at full strength after learning left wing Tyler Ennis -- a 20-goal scorer last season -- is week-to-week after spraining his left ankle Saturday. Despite failing to register a point in seven games in 2010-11, his presence will surely be missed.

"We'll make the adjustments. We've got some pieces that we're going to switch around," Ruff said. "There's guys that can obviously go into that role; Ville (Leino) can go over to the left side. We're going to try some different things."

Leino and the Sabres offense could struggle to get going against Garon, who has earned a third consecutive start with two straight excellent performances.

After making 16 saves in Thursday's 4-1 win over the New York Islanders, Garon recorded his 20th career shutout Saturday. He had gone 0-6-0 with a 4.05 goals-against average in his previous six career starts versus Buffalo.

"I don't play for shutouts," he said. "It doesn't matter if we get a shutout. All I want is a win, and we got it."

Buffalo's Ryan Miller, who has allowed two goals or fewer -- posting three shutouts -- in nine of his last 11 regular-season starts dating to 2010-11, is 17-5-0 lifetime against the Lightning. He's won seven of nine career home contests in this series despite a lackluster 3.11 GAA.

Though he was blanked by Garon on Saturday, Buffalo's Thomas Vanek has five goals and an assist in his last three games against Tampa Bay. He has 16 goals -- three hat tricks -- in 12 career home games versus the Lightning.