TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Since starting the season in fine
fashion, the Tampa Bay Lightning have hit a funk.
The Lightning will try to rediscover their offensive touch
Thursday when they host the Buffalo Sabres in the finale of a
After scoring three times in the opening period en route to a
season-opening 5-2 win over Carolina, Tampa Bay has slowed down.
The third-highest scoring club in the league last season, the
Lightning have managed just four goals in a 1-2-0 stretch.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions took an early 1-0 lead
before giving up four straight goals in a 4-2 loss to Boston on
Monday. Tampa Bay was 0-for-6 on the power play in front of
John Grahame, who stopped just 16 of 20 shots before being
Fredrik Modin and Dan Boyle both scored for the Lightning, who
are one of just three Eastern Conference teams with less than 10
The Sabres, who have missed the playoffs each of the last three
seasons, are off to their best start since the 1984-85 season,
with all of their damage being done at home.
Buffalo improved to 3-0-0 at home with Monday's 3-2 overtime win
over Pittsburgh. Jochen Hecht scored with just 20 seconds left
in OT to lift the Sabres, whose only road game resulted in
Saturday's 5-0 loss at Ottawa.
The strong start helped Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, the longest
tenured active coach in the NHL, secure a one-year contract
extension Tuesday. Ruff now is signed through the 2006-07