Smith carries Lightning over Sabres
Mike Smith made 29 saves to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Smith, in his first start since Nov. 12, helped the Lightning (11-7-2) to their third straight victory, tying a season high. He sparkled in the third period by turning aside all 12 shots he faced.
Teddy Purcell and Adam Hall scored for Tampa Bay, which defeated Philadelphia 8-7 on Thursday night in the highest scoring game in the NHL in almost three years.
Thomas Vanek scored for the Sabres (8-11-3), who were without starting goalie Ryan Miller.
Miller didn't dress after being scratched late because of an undisclosed lower-body injury. He missed five straight games earlier this month with hip soreness.
Patrick Lalime played in favor of Miller and made 20 saves in his first start since Nov. 5 against Montreal.
Buffalo has alternated wins and losses over its last four games.
Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, who entered as the NHL leader in both goals and points, was held off the scoresheet for only the third time this season.
Vanek opened the scoring with his eighth of the season just under 5 minutes into the game, letting go a slap shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Smith.
Purcell tied it with 1:50 left in the opening period, re-directing in the slot Randy Jones' pass from the lower-left circle.
Tampa Bay took the lead with 8:34 left in the second on Hall's fourth of the season. He intercepted Lalime's clearing attempt in the lower portion of the right circle, and lifted a backhander in off his own rebound after Lalime made the initial save.