EditorsNote: adds “of the first period” in eighth graf, fixes to “sent in” in 11th graf
Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette scored the go-ahead goal with 5:41 remaining as the host Lightning snapped the NHL’s longest winning streak at 10 games in a 5-4 win over the red-hot Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Paquette ripped his fifth goal after a pass from Mikhail Sergachev to break a 4-all tie.
Buffalo had not lost since dropping a 3-1 decision to the New York Rangers on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden.
The win vaulted the Lightning into the top spot in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with 37 points in 26 games, passing divisional foes Buffalo and Toronto.
Dan Girardi, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning. Victor Hedman had two assists, and Killorn and Kucherov each added a helper.
Sam Reinhart had two goals, and Zemgus Girgensons and Tage Thompson also scored for the Sabres. Jack Eichel had two assists.
Louis Domingue made his ninth consecutive start and recorded 18 saves while Carter Hutton started for Buffalo, stopping 32 shots.
Girardi knocked in his own rebound for his second tally at 2:59, but the Sabres then scored twice in 63 seconds to take a 2-1 lead before the Lightning evened it quickly.
Girgensons scored his second marker when Rasmus Ristolainen’s blast hit his leg and went in, and Reinhart soon tallied when his shot hit and popped over Domingue. Killorn tied it at 2 with his fourth goal less than a minute later.
Kucherov snapped in his 10th goal — giving him an eight-game point streak — from the high slot to finish a 3-on-1 break and give the Lightning a 3-2 lead. They outshot Buffalo 16-7 in a feisty period that ended with a brawl behind the Sabres’ net.
Eichel sent a cross-ice pass at 5:39 of the second period that Reinhart deflected in with his left skate for his fifth goal for a 3-all tie.
Thompson toe-dragged past a defender and fired in his fourth goal at 2:29 of the third period for a 4-3 lead on Buffalo’s 14th shot. Stamkos scored seven seconds into a power play to even the score at 4.
After Paquette’s goal, the Lightning defended in front of Domingue and held on for the win as Buffalo pulled Hutton for the extra attacker.
—Field Level Media