Cozens' OT goal secures Buffalo Sabres' 3-2 victory against Tampa Bay Lightning


Cozens’ OT goal secures Buffalo Sabres’ 3-2 victory against Tampa Bay Lightning

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — In a thrilling matchup, Dylan Cozens’ overtime heroics secured Buffalo’s first win of the season as they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Tuesday night, after a tense battle that saw the Sabres relinquish a one-goal lead in the final period.

Cozens, the standout player, found the net just 1 minute and 46 seconds into overtime, redeeming Buffalo after they lost their 2-0 first-period advantage. Brandon Hagel, with two critical goals, tied the game with a mere seven seconds remaining.

Reflecting on the nail-biting match, Cozens stated, “That would be frustrating to lose that game. But those are the type of games we need to win. Low scoring, gritty games and games where we just find a way.”

Contributions also came from Zemgus Girgensons and Jeff Skinner, who added to Buffalo’s scoreline. Rookie goaltender Devon Levi showed his mettle, stopping 21 shots and bouncing back after two initial losses at the start of the season.

Sabres coach Don Granato commended his team’s unwavering confidence, emphasizing, “I love where they were at and just felt confident that they were going to get the job done. And I think that was probably our message, just move on, we’ll win the game.”

The momentum swung in Buffalo’s favor during overtime, with Cozens receiving a pass in the high slot and making a decisive shot from the right circle that ricocheted off the far post and into the net.

Hagel’s crucial game-tying goal salvaged a point for the Lightning, preventing a sweep on their three-game road trip following losses at Detroit and Ottawa. Goalie Jonas Johansson made 28 saves in the process.

Reflecting on his game-saving play, Hagel revealed, “Everything was kind of feeling in slow motion. I’m just trying to get a stick on it, trying to get it at the net and maybe something happens, and something did happen.”

The Sabres started strong with Girgensons and Skinner scoring within 6 and a half minutes of each other in the first period.

Although Buffalo seemed in control through the second period, missed opportunities, including a failed 2-on-1 break, allowed Hagel to seize the moment and score with just 2 minutes and 2 seconds left.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper acknowledged the importance of the early season matchup, stating, “I don’t want to say Game 4s (of the season) are big games, but this is a big one for us.”

Injuries included Lightning’s captain Steven Stamkos, day-to-day after sustaining an injury in a game against Detroit, and C Tyler Motte, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury.

On the Sabres’ side, D Mattias Samuelsson left the game due to an upper-body injury after one shift in the third period. Granato listed him as day to day. LW Victor Olofsson was a healthy scratch to make way for Tyson Jost’s season debut.

Up next, the Lightning will play their next five games at home, starting with a matchup against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. The Sabres will continue their four-game homestand by hosting the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.


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