Game 61: Turning the Lightning on their head
The Sabres turned up the juice in a fiery 5-3 win over Tampa Bay
BUFFALO — Until very recently, games between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning played out like a tussle between two brothers, one a bit older than the other. The older brother always had the edge and would occasionally just toy with their kid brother to mess with them thinking they had a chance to beat him before ultimately crushing their dream.
The thing is about those battles is when the kid brother grows up or the older brother slows down, things start to change, and the kid brother starts to pull out some wins and drive the older brother bonkers by doing it.
The Sabres’ past two games against Tampa Bay show that the still kid brother aged Sabres are turning things around on the big brother Bolts and they’ve found ways to be really annoying about it.
Last week in Tampa, the Sabres got out to leads of 3-1, 4-2, and 5-3 trying to keep the Lightning at bay (sorry, not sorry). But the Lightning kept coming back and eventually forced overtime and had a power play going into the extra period to have the advantage against Buffalo. Turns out it was Ilya Lyubushkin’s time to shine because his shorthanded goal in overtime gave Buffalo a hard-fought road win in a building that’s more like a den of nightmares for the Sabres.
That game set the table for fireworks on Saturday afternoon. It was in that game Rasmus Dahlin threw on his troll mask and got under the skin of Tampa Bay players, particularly Anthony Cirelli. The hits got harder and meaner, and every check was finished and then some the rest of the game. That it ended in shocking fashion the way it did in OT didn’t stop the snarl on Saturday.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Noted Hockey to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.