Mittelstadt and Nylander score, but Sabres fall short against Tampa 7-5

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Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (37) celebrates with the bench after his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, April 6, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Tampa Bay scored first and last, netting the final three goals to pull away from the Sabres in the third period for a 7-5 win.

For the Sabres, while there isn’t much left to play for in a lost season, took the playoff bound Lightning to the brink.

After falling behind 1-0 just 30 seconds into the game, Casey Mittelstadt found the back of the net for the first time in his career with a power play goal.

After the Bolts jumped back in front 2-1 with a goal from Nikita Kucherov, it was another pair of youngsters teaming up to pull the Blue & Gold even.

Defenseman Brendan Guhle sent the puck toward the net– where it found the stick of Alex Nylander.  The puck deflected past Andre Vasilevskiy and in to give the Swede his first career NHL goal.

Trailing 4-2 in the second period, the Sabres offense hit its stride. Jason Pominville, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo each scored to rally the team to a 5-4 lead.  However, the high powered Lightning were quick to answer back.

Anthony Cirelli pulled the Bolts even in the third and less than a minute later Brayden Point scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal to put Tampa Bay up 6-5.

Victor Hedman added the final goal to secure the win in the final minutes.

The Sabres play the season finale Saturday against the Panthers.

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