A hat-trick by Thomas Vanek would prove to be the difference as the Buffalo Sabres ended the Tampa Bay Lightning’s hopes for a South East division title with a 4-2 victory.
The Sabres started the game off as planned as they applied tremendous pressure on the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. The chances piled up early and none better than when Stafford picked up a juicy rebound with a wide open net but failed to shoot the puck on target as he pulled to his backhand.
The Sabres continued to dominate the start of this game until a shot from Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin was deflected into the net by Ryan Malone to give Tampa Bay the lead 6 minutes into the contest.
The Sabres were not phased by any means as they continued to control the tempo of the game and were rewarded as Dana Tyrell took a questionable penalty 200 feet from his own net giving the Sabres their 1st powerplay opportunity of the game.
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