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Sabres stymie Lightning with 2-1 shootout win

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis scored shootout goals, and the Buffalo Sabres won their third in a row with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Zemgus Girgensons forced overtime by scoring the tying goal with 3:54 left in regulation. Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves through overtime and then sealed the victory by stopping Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan in the shootout.

The Sabres (9-14-2) have won six of seven since a 3-13-2 start.

Palat scored for the Lightning (17-6-3), who had won four straight. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 21 shots before allowing goals on both shootout attempts he faced.

Coming off consecutive wins over Montreal last week, the Sabres knocked off a Lightning team that entered leading the NHL with 90 goals and tied for the league lead with 17 wins and 36 points.

Palat opened the scoring with 10:08 remaining in the third period when he drove to the net and swept in Tyler Johnson’s centering pass.

The Sabres finally cashed in following a pair of chances, with Girgensons’ tying goal coming with 3:54 left.

Following a faceoff to the right of the net, the Sabres worked the puck to Tyler Myers at the blue line, where he rifled a rising shot on goal. Nabokov made the initial save but was unable to control the rebound. The puck bounced to Girgensons, who flipped it over an off-balance Nabokov, who was falling backward.

The goal came immediately after Nabokov made a big stop on Brian Flynn, who was set up alone in front by Brian Gionta.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos nearly settled it with 5 seconds left in regulation. Rounding into the left circle, Stamkos snapped a shot through a crowd and hit the far post. The puck caromed back off Enroth’s shoulder and fell into the crease, where the goalie smothered it.

Myers had the two best chances 2:15 into overtime. Driving across the blue line, he went right past defenseman Radko Gudas only to be stopped by Nabokov.

The Lightning started flat, one night after a 6-3 win at the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay managed just two shots on net in the first period, with the second coming in the final minute.

The Lightning made up for that in a high-flying start to the second, when they peppered the Buffalo net with seven shots in the first 6 minute, only to be foiled each time by Enroth.

Johnson got in alone in the opening seconds, only to be stopped by a pad save. Then it was Callahan’s turn on a breakaway — he faked left, went right and jammed the puck into the side of the net.

Enroth’s best save came 5:50 into the period, when he slid across to his right to stop Valtteri Filppula’s one-timer off a feed from Vladislav Namestnikov on a 2-on-1 break.

Nabokov was at his best in the opening period, when the Sabres had seven shots. His two best saves both came against Girgensons.

NOTES: Sabres D Josh Gorges played after missing seven games with a knee injury. C Cody McCormick (concussion) missed his fourth game and was placed on injured reserve. … Lightning rookie LW Jonathan Drouin, with one assist in his past seven games, was a healthy scratch. … Girgensons is the surprise leader in the NHL All-Star game fan vote with 399,356, nearly double that of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (218,672). Girgensons, a second-year player, has credited the surge to fans clicking away online back home in Latvia. The only limit applied by the NHL is fans can vote only 10 times a day. … Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli sat among NHL scouts in the press box. … The teams meet again at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

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