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Live from Sabres at Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. -- Any Sabres fans who didn't get to see Monday's premiere of the "new" Versus will get their chance tonight with the channel covering the game against Tampa Bay.

Comcast (which runs Versus) has merged with NBC, and they have streamlined the coverage between the two channels. Pierre McGuire, an NBC studio host, made his Versus debut Monday between the benches for the Detroit-Rangers game. Brian Engblom has moved from the Versus studio to the ice, and he will be between the benches tonight.

Ryan Miller will get the start for the Sabres, with former Buffalo backup Dwayne Roloson in net for the Lightning. Cheap Plug Alert: See Wednesday's Notebook for more on Roloson.

FIRST PERIOD

7:32 p.m.: The Sabres will use the starting lineup of Rob Niedermayer-Paul Gaustad-Mike Grier, with Shaone Morrisonn and Mike Weber on defense. Tampa will counter with Simon-Gagne-Vincent Lecavalier-Teddy Purcell, with Randy Jones and Pavel Kubina on defense.

7:41 p.m.: And the puck is finally dropped.

7:43 p.m.: Sabres get the first power play with 18:14 left with Steven Stamkos going off for tripping.

7:48 p.m.: No score with the teams at even strength with 15:00 left. There is nobody in this building. It's at least half empty.

7:51 p.m.: Sabres Edge legend Sean Bergenheim gives the Lightning a 1-0 lead with 13:24 to go. The forward takes Lecavalier's long breakout pass just out of the reach of Tim Connolly and streaks in toward Miller. He goes shortside, stickside top shelf to give the Lightning the lead.

7:56 p.m.: Miller gets his glove on Stamkos' close-range blast after a cross-ice pass from Martin St. Louis with 11:40 to go.

8 p.m.: The Sabres hit the second commercial with a 1-0 deficit and a 9-5 shot disadvantage. They're lucky it's only one goal. The Lightning is controlling play.

8:05 p.m.: Lightning forrward Dominic Moore will be signing autographs at a department store in Tampa on Thursday night. Don't all book your flights at once.

8:06 p.m.: The usual Tampa resident standing ovation for a military member, with tonight's honor going to National Guard Supply Sgt. James Hines. It's 1-0 with 5:25 to go.

8:08 p.m.: Another Buffalo power play with Ryan Malone getting a tripping call with 5:06 to go.

8:09 p.m.: It lasts 11 seconds as Tyler Myers goes for hooking with 4:55 to go.

8:12 p.m.: Tampa's Victor Hedman ties the game for Buffalo with 3:17 to go. Drew Stafford tired passing to teammate Tyler Ennis near the Lightning net, and Hedman reached out to block the pass. Instead, he sent it into the net.

8:15 p.m.: The teams hit the first intermission in a 1-1 tie. Tampa holds a 13-11 shot edge.

SECOND PERIOD

8:33 p.m.: And we're off (offline for much of the intermission, too) ...

8:35 p.m.: Moore takes a hooking penalty just 45 seconds in.

8:37 p.m.: Uneventful power play.

8:42 p.m.: A turnover by Andrej Sekera allows Tampa to take a 2-1 lead with 15:02 to go. The backpedaling defenseman lost the puck to Hedman, who chased it down and fed Lecavalier for a tap-in.

8:43 p.m.; Nathan Gerbe gives Tampa a power play with a roughing call with 14:19 left.

8:45 p.m.: Connolly's clearing pass nearly takes out Gerbe as he exits the box.

8:46 p.m.: Roloson makes a pad save on Ennis' breakaway with 11:42 to go.

8:51 p.m.: Teams head to commercial break while Tampa's Steve Downie heads to box to get medical attention with 8:56 left. He tried leaving the zone and ran smack into Myers.

8:55 p.m.: The Legend strikes again. Ryan Malone pushes a blue-line faceoff into the Buffalo zone and gets a backhand off on Miller. He kicks out a big rebound, and Bergenheim buries it with 8:36 left. That's Bergenheim's fifth goal in 15 games against the Sabres.

8:57 p.m.: Jochen Hecht goes off for elbowing with 7:59 left.

9:05 p.m.: It's still 3-1 with 3:02 to go. Bergenheim has five goals in his last eight games against Buffalo ... so far.

9:09 p.m.: A fine offensive play by Mike Weber sets up Thomas Vanek and pulls the Sabres within 3-2 with 1:50 to go. Weber carried in from the blue line, kept the puck away from two defenders and slid a backhand pass across the zone for Vanek.

9:12 p.m.: And at the end of 40 minutes, Tampa Bay has a 3-2 lead and 24-16 shot edge.

THIRD PERIOD

9:29 p.m.: The Sabres are 2-19-1 when trailing after two. Tampa is 22-1-1 when leading after two.

9:38 p.m.: The Sabres catch a huge break as Drew Stafford trips Roloson with 15:34 to go, allowing Jordan Leopold's shot to find the net. The Bolts and their fans are furious.

9:42 p.m.: After the goal, Downie tackled and battled on the ice with Tim Connolly, while Brett Clark body-slammed Ennis. When play resumed, Hedman slashed Drew Stafford, took a high-stick from Stafford, then got called for roughing. Buffalo has a four-on-three with 15:14 to go.

Oh, and Jochen Hecht hit the post with 15:20 to go while all alone.

9:44 p.m.: The power play ends when Leopold goes for tripping with 14:04 to go.

9:53 p.m.: Connolly gives the Sabres a 4-3 lead on a backhand goal from the crease with 9:46 to go.

9:54 p.m.: Cody McCormick feeds Thomas Vanek for a goal with 8:59 to go. The Lightning calls a timeout. It never recovered from the bad call.

10:04 p.m.: The ice is littered with hats as Stafford gets his third three-goal night of the season with 6:33 left. The Sabres have a 7-3 lead.

10:12 p.m.: Lecavalier cuts the Tampa deficit to 7-4 with a power-play goal with 3:41 left. Still, the Sabres should win their second straight and improve to 11-4-1 in their past 16 games.

10:17 p.m.: Sabres win.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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