Sabres Top Lightning With Big 2nd Period

Tuesday, November 21st 2006, 6:35 am

By: News On 6

Winning isn't enough for the Buffalo Sabres anymore. Now, they are just blowing everyone away.

The Sabres erased an early deficit with a seven-goal second period and handed the Tampa Bay Lightning a 7-2 thumping Monday night in Buffalo.

``It's pretty fun and special, but we can't just turn it on,'' said Paul Gaustad, who scored twice in the Sabres' biggest offensive period this season. ``We have to play our system, and we'll get our chances to put the puck away.''

They have been doing plenty of that.

Buffalo (17-3-1) has scored at least six goals in five games, and reached seven for the second time in five contests. The Sabres bounced back from a 4-1 loss to Ottawa on Saturday _ their only road defeat this season _ and haven't dropped back-to-back decisions yet.

``We don't like to lose,'' Gaustad said. ``There was a letdown in Ottawa, and we got back on track.''

In other NHL games, it was Florida 3, Boston 2; Nashville 3, Columbus 1; Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 3; Ottawa 5, Minnesota 3; Toronto 4, the New York Islanders 2; and Dallas 5, Colorado 4.

Thomas Vanek also scored twice in the second period for the Sabres, who trailed 1-0 after one. Gaustad set up another goal to give him a career-high three points, and Ales Kotalik had three assists.

``Nothing was said,'' Kotalik said of the mood between periods. ``We had to generate more, and each line had to go to work in the second.''

Jiri Novotny, Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Drury also scored for the Sabres, who won for the sixth time in eight games.

Ryan Miller made 24 saves to win for the first time since Nov. 2. He missed four games in the middle of the month with an abdominal strain.

Martin St. Louis had two goals for Tampa Bay, which lost its second straight and third in four. The Lightning fell to the Rangers in New York on Sunday and were outscored 11-3 in the two defeats.

``We got beat by not doing the details,'' St. Louis said. ``If you have mishaps on details against a team like Buffalo, you get a second period like that.''

After St. Louis made it 1-0 in the first, the Sabres turned it into a rout in the second.

Gaustad tied it at 1:14 on the power play, Novotny scored 63 seconds later, and Vanek made it 3-1 at 7:48. Gaustad and Spacek followed with goals 24 seconds apart before Vanek pushed Buffalo's lead to 6-1 with his team-leading 15th goal at 14:02, another man-advantage score.

Drury capped the burst with 2:41 to go.

``No one saw that coming,'' Tampa Bay defenseman Paul Ranger said.

Buffalo's top line of Jochen Hecht, Daniel Briere and Jason Pominville, along with defenseman Brian Campbell, were the only players left off the scoresheet.

``If you have to rely on your top line every night, it will get you in trouble,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Predators 3, Blue Jackets 1

At Columbus, Ohio, Paul Kariya and Martin Erat each had a goal and an assist for the visiting Predators.

Tomas Vokoun lost his shutout bid with 15 seconds left but finished with 23 saves in his 10th win of the season for the Predators, who defeated Columbus for the third time in six days. Scott Nichol also scored for the Nashville, which has won 13 of 16.

Jason Chimera scored for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped a season-high six straight.

Panthers 3, Bruins 2

At Boston, Alex Auld made 29 saves, Martin Gelinas scored a power-play goal and Florida snapped the host Bruins' season-high, four-game winning streak.

Joe Nieuwendyk netted a third-period, power-play goal and Nathan Horton scored in the second period for the Panthers, who won for the second time in seven games. It was Florida's second road win of the season (2-6-3).

Glen Murray scored his team-leading 10th and 11th goals for Boston, which had its longest winning streak since March 2004 stopped.

Penguins 5, Flyers 3

At Philadelphia, Ryan Whitney had a goal and two assists, and Sidney Crosby and Dominic Moore each added a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh.

John LeClair and Sergei Gonchar also scored for the Penguins, who snapped their four-game, road-losing streak and handed the Flyers their fifth straight home loss.

Simon Gagne, Geoff Sanderson, and Frederick Meyer scored for the Flyers, who trailed 3-0 after the first period.

The Penguins are 4-0 against the Flyers this season, outscoring them 20-7.

Maple Leafs 4, Islanders 2

At Toronto, Darcy Tucker scored his 13th goal for the host Maple Leafs.

John Pohl, Kyle Wellwood and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for Toronto, which ended a two-game losing skid.

Toronto's Andrew Raycroft made 19 saves after missing three games with a strained groin.

Chris Simon and Jason Blake scored for the Islanders, who finished 3-1-1 on their road trip.

Senators 5, Wild 3

At Ottawa, Andrej Meszaros, Chris Kelly and Chris Neil scored first-period goals and Ray Emery made 42 saves for the Senators at home.

Meszaros and Kelly scored 1:08 apart before seven minutes elapsed. Neil made it 3-0 at 14:06.

Daniel Alfredsson and Peter Schaefer also scored for Ottawa, which won consecutive games for just the second time this season.

Pascal Dupuis scored a power-play goal, and Brian Rolston netted his second penalty-shot tally of the season for Minnesota. Mikko Koivu scored a short-handed goal with 13 seconds remaining.

The Wild have lost seven of 10 since a 9-1 start.

Stars 5, Avalanche 4

At Dallas, Antti Miettinen scored with 6:02 left for the host Stars.

Miettinen's fifth goal came two minutes after Eric Lindros got Dallas even.

The Avalanche jumped out to a 2-0 lead on two goals by Marek Svatos in the game's first seven minutes and chased goalie Marty Turco.

Stars captain Brenden Morrow scored twice in the final three minutes of the first period.

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