National Hockey League
Tampa Bay at Buffalo
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 10, 2015
Where: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

The Buffalo Sabres had some positives in their opening-night loss and look to find more consistency when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo lost its No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner indefinitely with an ankle injury early in a rough first period before getting a goal from 18-year-old center Jack Eichel in a 3-1 loss to Ottawa on Thursday.

The Sabres came on to outshoot the Senators 12-4 in the third period and need that kind of aggression throughout against the defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning. Tampa Bay received two goals from defenseman Jason Garrison, including the winner in overtime, to beat Philadelphia 3-2 in its opener. The Lightning begin a stretch in which they play 11 of the next 15 on the road and will depend a lot on goalie Ben Bishop, who stopped two penalty shots Thursday. “He was our No. 1 star,” Garrison said of Bishop. “Those penalty shots are huge. They are big moments in the game. He stopped plenty of Grade-A chances, so we’ve got to clean those up for the next game.”

TV: 1 p.m. ET, SNET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), MSG-B (Buffalo)

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (1-0-0): Tampa Bay received an overtime winner from a defenseman (Victor Hedman) to start the 2014-15 season and coach Jon Cooper told reporters afterward: “Hopefully this season carries on similarly.” Captain Steven Stamkos was held off the scoresheet in the opener, but linemates Ryan Callahan (goal, assist) and Jonathan Drouin (two assists) contributed. Bishop is likely to get almost all the work in October with Andrei Vasilevskiy (blood clots) recovering and recently-acquired Kevin Poulin serving as the backup.

ABOUT THE SABRES (0-1-0): First-year coach Dan Bylsma told reporters Lehner’s injury was “more than day-to-day,” and Chad Johnson takes over in net. The Sabres were also without captain Brian Gionta (lower body) in the opener and the right wing is considered day-to-day. Eichel centered newcomer Evander Kane and 19-year-old Sam Reinhart on Thursday, but Zemgus Girgensons replaced Reinhart on the line at practice Friday, according to the Sabres website, while offseason acquisition Ryan O’Reilly remained between Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson.


1. The Lightning outscored the Sabres 16-3 while going 4-0-1 in five meetings last season, dropping one point in a shootout at Buffalo.

2. Tampa Bay’s triplets line of LW Ondrej Palat, C Tyler Johnson and RW Nikita Kucherov combined for nine shots on goal but no points in the opener.

3. Kane and Eichel logged 21:58 of ice time in the opener, second only to 20-year-old Buffalo D Rasmus Ristolainen (23:10).

PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Sabres 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Tampa Bay 1-0-0-0 W3 1-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 1-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
Buffalo 0-1-0-0 L3 0-1-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-1-0-0 0-1-0-0
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay Buffalo
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
3/3/15 BUF 0 TB 3 35 28 2-2 28 32 0-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Tampa Bay R. Callahan 1
Buffalo L. Adam 0
Goals Player  
Tampa Bay R. Callahan 1
Buffalo L. Adam 0
Assists Player  
Tampa Bay V. Filppula 1
Buffalo L. Adam 0
Saves Player  
Tampa Bay A. Vasilevskiy 28
Buffalo A. Lindback 32
Total Points Player  
Tampa Bay J. Drouin 9
Buffalo J. Eichel 7
Goals Player  
Tampa Bay J. Drouin 3
Buffalo E. Kane 4
Assists Player  
Tampa Bay J. Drouin 6
Buffalo S. Reinhart 5
Saves Player  
Tampa Bay B. Bishop 96
Buffalo R. Lehner 95
Quickchart Matchup
Tampa Bay Off vs  Buffalo Def
3 GF
3 GA
32 Shots
22 Shots
1 PP
0 PK
Buffalo Off vs  Tampa Bay Def
1 GF
2 GA
27 Shots
25 Shots
1 PP
1 PK