(Sports Network) - Firing the longest tenured head coach in the NHL has yet to
make a difference for the sliding Buffalo Sabres, who will try to halt a four-
game skid when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
The Sabres fired Lindy Ruff, the club's head coach since 1997, on Wednesday
and the team has responded by getting beat in its first two tests under
interim head coach Ron Rolston.
Buffalo has been outscored by a combined 7-1 margin under Rolston and the club
was handed a 4-0 loss Saturday by the visiting New York Islanders. The Sabres
sent 35 shots Evgeni Nabokov's way, but he stopped every single one as Buffalo
fell to 3-9-0 in February.
Ryan Miller allowed all four goals on 32 shots for Buffalo, which has managed
two goals during its three-game slide.
"You're not going to win games not scoring," Rolston admitted. "Still
stretches playing some decent hockey and mistakes that are costly."
Beginning with Tuesday's contest, Buffalo is playing two straight and six of
its next seven on the road. The Sabres are 3-6-0 as the guest this season.
The Lightning, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three games and are
coming off Sunday's 5-3 setback in Pittsburgh. The Penguins jumped out to a
3-0 lead in the first period en route to the home victory.
Anders Lindback gave up three goals on 10 shots before being pulled for
Mathieu Garon, who made 10 saves in relief. Steven Stamkos scored and assisted
on goals from Eric Brewer and Cory Conacher for the Lightning, who had won
three of four coming in.
The Lightning were able to pull within a goal on two occasions after the
rough first period, but couldn't draw even.
"It was a little too big (a deficit) to come back," Stamkos said.
Stamkos enters Tuesday's action on a five-game goal streak and has six markers
during that stretch. He has 13 goals this season, tying him with John
Tavares of the New York Islanders for the NHL lead.
The Lightning are 6-3-1 as the host this season, but are in Tampa for just one
game before embarking on a four-game road trip. The trek is set to begin
Thursday evening against the New York Rangers.
Tuesday's matchup marks the first of three meetings between the Sabres and
Lightning this season. The Bolts have won five of the last eight encounters in
this series overall, but the Sabres have claimed 11 of the past 14 encounters
The Sports Network