Friday, October 31, 2008

Bolts Bag 2nd Straight Road Win

By JC De La Torre

The Tampa Bay Lightning gave the Buffalo Sabres the hockey version of the lump of coal for a trick instead of a treat, thrashing the Sabres 5-2. It marked the first time this season Tampa Bay has scored more than three goals and got the Lightning to the .500 level for the first time this season (3-3-3).

The #1 overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, Steven Stamkos, scored his first two NHL goals and added an assist for a 3 point night, giving him 4 points in the past two games. Lecavalier tossed in two assists, while Ryan Malone, Jussi Jokinen, and Paul Ranger each found the back of the net.

The scoring started in the first period, when Stamkos deflected in a Vinny Lecavalier blast from the point. The power play goal gave the Bolts a 1-0 advantage. Less than a minute later, Jussi Jokinen made it 2-0 when his slipped a shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Buffalo would answer at the 11:12 mark of the first on Clarke MacArthur's slap shot that went high on Lightning Goalie Olaf Kolzig. Ryan Malone's shot on the feed from Stamkos would make it 3-1 with 0:26 left in the first.

In the 2nd, the barrage continued midway through the period, when defenseman Paul Ranger scored on a "Look what I found" goal at the 13:10 mark to make it 4-1. With 5 minutes to go in the period, a Stamkos blast from just inside the circle would give the Lightning a 4 goal lead. Thomas Vanek would get his 9th goal of the season on the power play to close out the scoring. Neither team would find the net in the 3rd. Olaf Kolzing save 29 of 31 for Tampa Bay and the Bolts power play finished 1 for 3, while they killed 4 of the 5 Buffalo chances.

With Tampa Bay's 2nd straight victory and the Lightning's offense finally coming to life, the Bolts moved into 3rd in the Southeast division and despite their slow start, they find themselves only 3 points out of 1st.

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