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Lightning vs. Sabres: Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov lead Tampa Bay in win at 2019 NHL Global Series

Sporting News — (Jackie Spiegel)

The 2019 Global Series continued Friday with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres facing off in Stockholm, Sweden, for the first of back-to-back games.

Victor Hedman and Pat Maroon, who returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with injuries, each netted assists in the contest. Hedman, the lone Swede on Tampa Bay's roster, fired a shot from the point that was deflected in by Alex Killorn to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead in the first period. Despite questions surrounding his availability this week, the 2018 Norris Trophy winner led all skaters on both teams with 25:47 TOI.

Maroon assisted on the insurance goal, and eventual game-winner, by Yanni Gourde in the third period. In 12 games with the Lightning, the 2019 Stanley Cup champion now has four points (goal, three assists) in 12 games. Nikita Kucherov got the Bolts on the board less than four minutes into the game  WITH his second goal in his last six games; however, he did have a low-bridge hit on Vladimir Sobotka that forced the centerman out of the game with an apparent lower-body injury.

Sam Reinhart netted both goals for Buffalo; he now has seven goals and 13 points in 15 games this season. His second tally made it a one-goal game but the Sabres could not find the back of the net again. Linus Ullmark, one of four Swedes that suited up for Buffalo in the contest, made 31 saves, including 26 at even strength.

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The other Swedish nationals that played for the Sabres include 19-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who won silver at World Juniors in 2018 for Tre kronor and forwards Marcus Johansson, Johan Larsson and Victor Olofsson. Defenseman Lawrence Pilut, who was recalled from Rochester (AHL) for the games, was a scratch on Friday.

In October, Sweden topped non-North American countries with 79 players on season-opening rosters, representing 11.4 percent of the League’s 690 total players.

With the loss, Buffalo has now lost four straight and has been outscored 19-9 in their last six games (1-4-1), a far cry from where it started the season (8-1-1 through 10 GP). It's also been an interesting start for the Lightning, who won a league-record 62 games last season; the win was only the second for Tampa Bay in its last five games, and the Bolts are now 7-5-2 on the season.

Buffalo and Tampa Bay will wrap up the Global Series on Saturday with a 1 p.m. ET contest.

Sporting News has the scoring and highlights from the Lightning's win over the Sabres below.

Lightning 3, Sabres 2

(All times Eastern)

Third period: Lightning 3, Sabres 2

4:51 p.m. — Tampa Bay holds on to win 3-2.

4:44 p.m. — Linus Ullmark makes multiple saves as Pat Maroon bangs at the puck a few times on the doorstep.

4:41 p.m. — Sabres' Jack Eichel takes a tripping call with under six minutes left and his team down by one.

4:36 p.m. — GOAL. Sam Reinhart with the wicked wrister from the high slot makes it a one-goal game again. It is Reinhart's second of the game. Lightning lead 3-2.

4:31 p.m. — Back to even strength.

4:28 p.m. — After scoring an insurance goal, Gourde takes a high-sticking penalty on the very next draw. Sabres second power-play of the game; they're 0-for-1 in the game.

4:27 p.m. — GOAL. Yanni Gourde crashes the net and buries the loose puck. Pat Maroon, who missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, gets the primary assist. Lightning lead 3-1.

4:23 p.m. — Back to even strength.

4:17 p.m. — Rasmus Ristolainen nails Alexander Volkov after he makes the play along the boards — hit looks up high although Volkov was a bit hunched over. Steven Stamkos goes after Ristolainen and there's a big meeting between the benches. Jeff Skinner and Ondrej Palat get coincidental roughing minors. Ristolainen called for interference giving Lightning a power play.

4:11 p.m. — Third period is a go. 

Second period: Lightning 2, Sabres 1

3:54 p.m. — Second period comes to a close and we have a one-goal game. 

3:48 p.m. — The crowd has come a little alive with that goal.

3:46 p.m. — GOAL. It's officially a goal. The ruling on the ice has been overturned. Lightning lead 2-1.

3:44 p.m. — Wait. Hold on. The referee waved it off right away so now it's being reviewed. Reinhart did hit the puck down from high up — but did not look above the crossbar from replays.

3:44 p.m. — GOAL. Sam Reinhart deflects point shot from Rasmus Ristolainen in front of the net.

3:37 p.m. — There is 7:25 left on the clock in the second period. Tampa Bay leads 2-0 and are outshooting Buffalo 21-12. The arena is pretty quiet.

3:25 p.m. — Lightning now 1-for-2 on the power play.

3:23 p.m. — Johan Larsson with a solid shorthanded chance — actually two chances — as he chips the puck past the Lightning defense and comes out of the corner. Andrei Vasilevskiy with the big stops.

3:20 p.m. — Sabres' Jake McCabe hits Brayden Point with a high-stick to the face — although called for roughing officially. Bolts are already 1-for-1 with the man advantage.

3:17 p.m. — Sabres will be down a center for the rest of the game.

3:12 p.m. — Nothing doing for the Sabres.

3:11 p.m. — Second period begins with the Sabres on the power play for 54 seconds.

First period: Lightning 2, Sabres 0

2:53 p.m. — Now it's Buffalo's time on the power play as Erk Cernak is called for interference.

2:49 p.m. — GOAL. Victor Hedman's one-timer from the point is deflected just above the blue paint by Alex Killorn. Lightning lead 2-0.

2:47 p.m. — Tampa Bay heads to the power play as Rasmus Dahlin is called for interference on Pat Maroon. Dahlin is one of five Swedes on Buffalo's roster.

2:42 p.m. — Buffalo's Vladimir Sobotka takes a shot and then is hit low (and kinda late) by Nikita Kucherov. He is helped off the ice as Ralph Krueger has a few choice words for the referees.

2:32 p.m. — Some pushing and shoving in front of the Sabres net after the whistle as Mathieu Joseph goes hard to the net.

2:22 p.m. — GOAL. Brayden Point with the sweet saucer pass to a streaking Nikita Kucherov who buries the one-timer from one knee. He entered the game with one goal in his last nine games. Lightning lead 1-0.

2:20 p.m. — Jeff Skinner with a couple of good looks early including a deflection that just went wide off a Brandon Montour point shot. Skinner shows some disappointment on the bench.

2:16 p.m. — Game on!

Pregame

2:14 p.m. — Legend Markus Naslund drops the puck.

2:11 p.m. — Swedish anthem played beforehand.

2:08 p.m. — Victor Hedman introduced.

1:41 p.m. — Warmies.

5:36 a.m. — Morning skates in Stockholm.

5:34 a.m. — It looks like the Bolts' lone Swede is a go for the game.

Thursday