TAMPA, Fla. -- The Sabres are in trouble. Tampa Bay has Sabres Edge legend Sean Bergenheim on its roster, and he's a Buffalo killer (at least when I'm in attendance).
I ripped on him during his Islander days because I'd never heard of him, and he promptly scored twice as the Islanders shut out the Sabres. He's got six goals and 13 points for the Lightning, numbers that are sure to go up tonight.
The Lightning has won two straight and has points in five straight home games. They're going with Mike Smith in goal, while the Sabres are returning to Ryan Miller. He lasted just 20 minutes in Friday's 6-2 dismantling at the hands of Florida.
Caught up with Steve Montador prior to the game to discuss the big NHL news of the day. The players' association has hired legendary baseball union head Donald Fehr as its executive director.
"Overwhelming majority just shows the confidence that we have in him," said Montador, a member of the NHLPA’s constitution committee. "We’re excited to have him. I think he’s the guy with the most experience. Even though he doesn’t know hockey, there’s nobody else around that has the type of experience for the type of labor union that we are."
For more from Montador and Fehr, see Sunday's paper.
7:38 p.m.: Soulful rendition of the national anthem by sax player BK Jackson. Game on.
7:42 p.m.: Tim Connolly heads to the dressing room just 1:32 into the game after getting his face smashed off the boards on a check by Nate Thompson. Both players were going for the puck in the corner, with Connolly putting his hand up tro try to fend off Thompson. It didn't work. Connolly was driven facefirst into the boards, then as he was falling to the ice Thompson's hip hit him into the boards again. Connolly stayed down and was helped off by athletic trainer Tim Macre while holding a towel to his face.
7:46 p.m.: The Sabres kill a cross-checking penalty against Mike Weber. It's 0-0 with 14:45 to go.
7:55 p.m.: This is the most physical Sabres game in quite some time, with hard hits all over the ice. Cody McCormick ran over Dominic Moore -- who was infamously compared to a kittycat by Patrick Kaleta on an MSG feed last season -- and Kaleta followed McCormick's hit by crunching Martin St. Louis along the boards. St. Louis slowly went to the bench holding his side and got attention from the medical staff.
8:01 p.m.: Slight delay while Miller unbuckles his pads to fish out the save he made on St. Louis with 7:16 left. It's 0-0 with Tampa holding a 7-4 shot edge.
8:05 p.m.: A few nice saves keeps it 0-0 with 4:02 left. Miller stops a point-blank chance by my boy Bergenheim, while Smith stops a McCormick blast and gets help when Thomas Vanek winds up for a one-timer and has his stick shatter.
I love the Tampa crowd. Always the best standing ovations for military members, which tonight goes to Army Cadet Michael Eads.
8:13 p.m.: At the end of one it's 0-0 with the Lightning holding a 10-7 shot edge.
8:32 p.m.; No sign of Connolly as the teams return.
8:33 p.m.: I can't believe Kaleta skated only 4:53 in the first period. It seemed like he was out there every other shift.
ALERT: Connolly is back with a full shield.
8:35 p.m. Connolly is getting worked on by Macre on the bench as the Sabres go on the power play thanks to Ryan Malone's interference call with 17:13 to go.
8:37 p.m.: Miller forced to stop short-handed breakaway by Dana Tyrell.
8:40 p.m.; Malone comes out, Pavel Kubina goes in for slashing Paul Gaustad with 14:29 left.
8:43 p.m.: Penalty killed again.
8:48 p.m.: It's 0-0 still with 9:45 to go, and Kaleta has one fewer stick. He lost it while taking down Steven Stamkos out of view of the refs, and Ryan Malone grabbed it, took it to the bench and broke it. The Lightning will be on the power play after the commerical with Weber in the box.
8:53 p.m.: Simon Gagne scores on the power play with 7:44 left, lifting a backhand from the crease after Jordan Leopold and Montador leave him to follow Vinny Lecavalier. Lightning right back on the power play after Derek Roy goes for hooking with 7:26 left.
8:57 p.m.: Miller singlehandedly keeps it 1-0 with three short-handed stops on Stamkos.
9:02 p.m.: Stamkos deserved a goal and he gets one with 1:50 left to make it 2-0. Miller had no chance as Malone went cross-ice to a wide-open St. Louis, who went to the slot for a wide-open Stamkos.
The shots were 13-10 when Weber went off for tripping with 9:35 left. The shots are now 27-11 in Tampa's favor with 57.4 seconds left.
9:06 p.m.: For anyone wondering if Jochen Hecht still plays for the Sabres, apparently the answer is yes. He outskated Mike Lundin for a puck, knocked the defenseman away and fed a driving Jason Pominville for an apparent goal with 47.7 seconds left.
It's under review, however.
9:08 p.m.: It counts, it's 2-1 Tampa.
9:09 p.m.: I think the PA announcer just called Hecht "Johan." Only his second point in seven games and the name is wrong.
It's the end of two, with the Lightning holding a 2-1 lead and 28-12 shot edge.
9:29 p.m.: The Sabres are 2-14 when trailing after two periods.
9:33 p.m.: Leopold breaks up a three-on-one with 16:27 left.
9:33 p.m.: Bergenheim goes to the box for high-sticking Montador with 16:13 to go.
9:44 p.m.: It's still 2-1 Tampa with 9:35 to go.
9:47 p.m.: Sabres go on power play when Lundin goes off for hooking with 9:05 left.
9:49 p.m: PP shortened to 1:43 after Tyler Myers goes off for tripping with 7:22 left.
9:53 p.m.: Miller stops Lecavalier on a penalty shot with 5:45 to go.
10:02 p.m.: Sabres lose, 3-1, as St. Louis scores into empty net with 1.6 seconds left.