Series (Game 1 of 4)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, December 6th
Game 3: Friday, February 20th
Game 4: Thursday, March 18th

Sabres 1

(9-9-1, 21 pts)

Lightning 2

(11-2-1, 25 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 22, 2003

Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 0 11
TB 1 1 02

P. Kubina (Lightning - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Grahame (Lightning - G): Saves: 25, Save Pct.: .962

M. St. Louis (Lightning - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Grahame's 25 saves stop Sabres

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Pavel Kubina has found his scoring touch.

Kubina scored two goals, and backup goalie John Grahame made 25 saves to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Kubina has six goals this season, doubling his total from last season.

"It's nice to score some goals, but it doesn't matter who scores," Kubina said. "It's nice to win the game. It matters who wins the game."

Grahame faced 11 shots in the first period. He made a glove save on Curtis Brown's shot from the left circle during a two-on-one.

"He played well," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "He's not a backup."

Grahame also made strong saves on James Patrick's shot from the right circle and an in-close chance by Daniel Briere in the final three minutes of play.

"They're a very hardworking team," Grahame said. "It was our game plan to jump on them quick, and I think we did that."

Maxim Afinogenov scored the Buffalo goal.

"The final score is the only disappointment," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "The effort was outstanding."

Kubina put the Lightning up 1-0 at 14:15 of the first, scoring from the top of the right circle after Alexander Svitov won a faceoff.

The Lightning are 10-0-1 when scoring first. Buffalo is 0-9 when allowing the opening goal.

Kubina's power-play goal made it 2-0 with 3:32 left in the second. He scored from the low left circle off a cross-ice pass from Martin St. Louis.

"To score that second goal on the power play, it's big for us," Tortorella said. "It ends up winning the game for us."

Afinogenov got the Sabres within 2-1 at 2:43 of the third.

Buffalo's Mika Noronen turned aside slot shots by Chris Dingman and Brad Lukowich during the opening three minutes. He finished with 21 saves.

Game notes

Grahame made his fifth start of the season. Colorado, which might try to obtain a goalie at some point this season, had two scouts in attendance. ... Grahame has .961 save percentage and .970 goals-against average in his starts. ... Kubina has two career two-goal games. The other came against San Jose on March 1, 2002. ... Noronen made 35 saves in Buffalo's 5-0 win over Carolina on Friday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press