BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Monday night’s 2-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning was good, but more was needed from the Sabres after two periods. Head coach Don Granato felt his team wasn’t playing “their game” despite having a lead in the second intermission. He said after the game, he “had a message for them.”
“I didn’t like what was transpiring and felt we needed to respond,” Granato said. “You certainly have to respect what [the Lightning] have over there, but there is something in giving them too much respect and that can’t happen.”
It was a rough frame for Buffalo despite getting a lead. The Sabres didn’t even have a shot on goal for the first 10 minutes of the second period, and had to battle to keep the puck out of the net. Tampa put the pressure on, but goaltender Craig Anderson kept the score at 1-1 until the final minute of the second period. Drake Caggiula scored the go-ahead goal, but there was still work to be done during intermission.
Players agreed they weren’t playing as well as they could have up to that point.
“Between periods we kind of talked about it, we weren’t really playing our game, we were giving them too much respect over there,” forward Vinnie Hinostroza said. “That’s something we can’t do and as soon as we got to our game it was a lot of fun to play tonight.”
“I just think our intensity level wasn’t quite matching [Tampa’s],” Caggiula said. “Kind of had a talk between the second and third like big brother beats up the little brother kind of just push back, push back and came out flying in the third…”
They certainly turned it up a notch in the third period. Hinostroza scored his first goal as a Sabre when he collected the puck on a turnover, then fired it past goaltender Brian Elliott, padding Buffalo’s lead to 3-1.
Buffalo added empty-net goals from Robert Hagg and Victor Olofsson to take the 5-1 win.
“That’s the reigning Stanley Cup champs,” goaltender Craig Anderson said. “That’s a great hockey team over there. I think our guys showed up ready to play, put the work boots on and tried to frustrate them by just out working them. Anytime you win it is satisfying. This is a tough league to play in, tough league to get wins in. Kudos to our guys for putting in the work tonight.”
Anderson had a solid night in net as well. He stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced.
Olofsson scored the opening goal of the contest less than two minutes into the first period, so he finished the night with two goals.
Buffalo moves to 4-1-1 on the season and snap a seven-game losing streak to the Lightning in the process. Up next they begin a west-coast road trip when they face the Anaheim Ducks Thursday on the road. Puck drop is set for 10 p.m. eastern time.