NHL Game Night: 12-31-14 Lightning at Sabres

Lightning open a Third Period can of beat down.

TB-5
BUF-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 11 shots (not a typo) for the victory. He made a handful of key saves while the game was tight and the only goal he did allow was a point shot that deflected off of Hedman's stick and took a crazy bounce in on net.

First Period
7:48 TB Carle (4), (Palat)
12:33 BUF Ennis (9), (Zadorov, Moulson)(PP)

Second Period
19:02 TB Palat (9), (Johnson, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
5:20 TB Connolly (7), (Stralman, Palat)
8:40 TB Kucherov (16), (Johnson, Stralman)
18:05 TB Kucherov (17), (Palat, Johnson)

Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars.

The Lightning, for about 30 minutes, didn't look like they wanted to be in Buffalo (well, yeah). In the Third Period, they outshot Buffalo 14-1 and absolutely dismantled the young Sabres. It was a clinic put on by the triplets line to put 2014 to bed the right way.

Now, here's the interesting part: the Lightning now have 11 points in this 10-game segment of the season with 1 more game to play. Despite all their struggles this month, they may still hit 12 points over this 10-game stretch, and at a minimum, they'll have 4 insurance points heading into the second half of the campaign. Nice.

Cedric Paquette had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot and was 40% on draws in 17:00 of ice time. He had the hit of the game smoking Josh Gorges after a failed breakaway by Steven Stamkos.

Jonathan Drouin had 1 shot in 14:08.

Nikita Nesterov was +1 in 15:02 in his NHL debut. He made a key play breaking up a 2-on-1 that nearly resulted in a goal at the other end when Stamkos hit a crossbar. In all, he wasn't noticeable, but that's a positive for a rookie d-man.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.