NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Buffalo
(Saturday, March 27th)
Final Score: Buffalo 7, Tampa Bay 1
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Derek Roy's fourth career hat trick stoked an explosive Buffalo offense in a 7-1 victory over Tampa Bay at HSBC Arena.
Jason Pominville posted a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who clinched a playoff berth with their fifth victory in their last six games.
Adam Mair, Paul Gaustad and Jochen Hecht also tallied and Patrick Lalime stopped 22 shots for Buffalo, which moved within a point of the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
"I've been saying this for a while, that the guys in this room are a good group and pretty close together and can't wait to get started," said Lalime about his club, which helped him earn his 200th career victory. "You need everyone to be on the same page once the playoffs start."
Steve Downie notched the lone score for the Lightning, who staggered to their sixth loss in eight contests.
Antero Niittymaki was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots in less than nine minutes of action in defeat. Mike Smith allowed four goals on 20 shots over the remainder of regulation.
Gaustad tipped in a blistering point shot from Craig Rivet at 2:24 of the first period, and the Sabres increased that edge by two after Tampa forward Vincent Lecavalier was given a major and game misconduct for spearing.
Roy converted a Tyler Ennis pass from the right side at 8:02, then Hecht snuck a shot between Niittymaki's pads through a screen 50 seconds later.
"When you have to spend that time early in the game penalty killing for five minutes, then you get scored on with good shots and bad bounces, of course you feel bad for doing it," Lecavalier admitted.
Pominville gave the Sabres a four-goal edge shortly before the seven-minute mark of the second period, then Roy lifted the puck through a goalmouth scramble for a 5-0 game at 9:45.
Mair's tap-in less than two minutes later boosted Buffalo's lead to six, before Downie got the Bolts on the board in the final minute of the period.
Roy capped his trifecta with a rising slapshot from the right point on a power play 6:10 into the third.
Roy's last three goal game came in a 10-1 victory over Atlanta on January 18, 2008. He also posted two hat tricks in a four-game span on March 3 and 9, 2006...Buffalo swept the season series from Tampa Bay for the second time in three years and has taken 11 of the last 13 meetings.
03/28 01:54:27 ET