By Mike Harrington
I'll resist the urge to give you 39 things about tonight's Sabres-Lightning game, which will be preceded by the Sabres Hall of Fame ceremony to induct Dominik Hasek.
---Former Ch. 7 legend Rick Azar will be at the Sabres Store from 5-7 p.m. signing copies of his new book, "Tales from Azar's Attic." The Hasek ceremony kicks off at 6:50. So for all of you constantly rushing the gates at 7 or maybe even strolling in at 7:15, get there early for once!
(I have no clue why we always have such late-arriving crowds in First Niagara Center. This isn't LA, folks. People like their pregame beers in other places too).
---The Lightning and Bruins are the only teams in the NHL to get points in each of their last 10 games. Tampa enters tonight 6-0-4 in the last 10 while the Sabres, of course, are 1-9 in the last 10. They have also dropped 10 of their last 11 since their 3-1 win over the Lightning on March 6 in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tampa's 10-game run is their most since an 18-game unbeaten streak in 2003-04.
---The Lightning have 37 goals in the last 10 games -- but have given up 32. In the last 11 games, the Sabres have been outscored, 34-12
---The Lightning appears pretty much locked into a first-round playoff matchup with Montreal, as the 2-3 teams in each division will meet under the new postseason format. Detroit and Toronto are both nine points back of Tampa Bay heading into their huge wild-card showdown tonight in Air Canada Centre.
---Until this year, the Sabres had not dropped 10 or more games in a month since going 1-10-2 in November, 2002. They went 2-12-1 in October and are 2-11 this month, with tonight's game being the final one in March.
Have they ever lost 12 in a month before this year? The team's month-by-month records only date to 2000. I'll have to figure this one out on my own.
---How little do the Sabres lead? Tonight is Game 74 of the 82-game schedule. They have led after the first period just 11 times (going 4-6-1 in those games) and after two periods just eight times (6-0-2). The Lightning are 17-4-3 leading after one and 26-3-2 leading after two.
---The Sabres have just 133 goals for the season, a sickly average of 1.8. They have the fewest number of goals in the NHL in each period too, with just 35 in the first, 43 in the second and 52 in the third. The 1997-98 Lightning have the post-1967 expansion era record for fewest goals at 151, and they went 17-55-10. The Sabres have some scoring to do.
---The Sabres have an absolutely pathetic 87 goals in 5-on-5 situations. No other team in the NHL has fewer than 114. There are 12 teams that have at least 140.
---At least playing the Lightning can be a panacea. Buffalo’s franchise record of 50-24-6 (.663) against Tampa Bay, including 1-1-1 this year, is the team’s best all-time record against any Eastern Conference opponent. The team’s record against San Jose (20-10-1, .661) is the only better all-time series record.
---Tampa star Steven Stamkos has 21 goals and 33 points while playing just 28 games after missing 45 with his broken leg suffered in November in Boston. No Sabre has 20 goals while playing the entire season while the only Sabres with more points are Tyler Ennis (38 in 71 games) and Cody Hodgson (36 in 63 games).
---In goal tonight: Matt Hackett (1-2-0, 3.02 GAA, .919 sv pct) vs. Ben Bishop (35-11-7, 2.17, .926).
taggedSabres game day | Statistics | Tampa Bay Lightning