NHL Game Night: 12-31-19 Lightning at Sabres

Comeback win puts Tampa Bay on the precipice of crawling out of early season hole.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the win. Goal support is good.

First Period
19:03 BUF Sheary (6), (Lazar)

Second Period
2:12 BUF Johansson (6), (Sheary, Scandella)
7:00 TB Palat (12), (Johnson, Sergachev)(PP)
8:12 BUF Vesey (5), (Johansson, Sheary)
9:56 BUG Eichel (25), (unassisted)(SH)
13:57 TB Killorn (14), (Point, Kucherov)(PP)
16:55 TB Johnson (8), (Palat, McDonagh)

Third Period
6:20 TB Shattenkirk (6), (Johnson, Cirelli)
8:08 TB Killorn (15), (Maroon, Paquette)
19:57 TB Cirelli (9), (Killorn, Stamkos)(EN)

Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and third stars. We're moving closer to a reality where Alex Killorn may break 20 goals. #EndOfDays

You know, the Lightning really took off when they decided to finally stop beating themselves tonight. This was a game where the puck management was sloppy and the defensive zone coverage was sloppy and the effort just lacked polish. And, because of that, they fell into a three goal hole halfway through the game. Credit them for not panicking and just resolving to try to get a goal or two before the intermission, which they got, to give themselves a chance. This was one of those games where it wasn't a Picasso, but sometimes Dogs Playing Poker will have to do.

The standings impact of tonight's win was very big as they now have 46 points through 38 games. Go at least .500 over the next two games and they'll pull into the midway point of the campaign right where they need to be on playoff pace. In fact, with the Panthers wetting the bed against the Fighting John Tortorella's of Columbus tonight, the Lightning technically pulled into playoff position tonight, but the competitive standings at this time of year are really less important than the points pacing.

Carter Verheaghe was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 7:40.

Mitchell Stephens was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 7:42. He was also 29% on 7 draws. A rare bad night in the circles for the rookie.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.