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National Hockey League
Tampa Bay 6, Buffalo 1
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Referees: Mitch Dunning, Peter MacDougall
Linesmen: Andrew Smith, CJ Murray
Attendance: 8368

Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov recorded his fourth career hat trick - his first goals since October -- as the Lightning pounded the host Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Tuesday night.

Following a 32-game absence due to an upper-body injury, Kucherov tallied twice in the second period - his second and third goals overall and first since netting against Detroit in the season's second game on Oct. 14.

In Kucherov's third game back from an upper-body injury, his wrister 27 seconds into the second made it 3-0.

The right wing added another tally 10 minutes later and finished his three-goal night at 13:57 of the third.

It was his first hat trick since March 23, 2017, in Boston.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-6-3) stopped 17 shots to post his sixth consecutive 20-win campaign. He improved his career mark against Buffalo to 12-1-1.

Steven Stamkos notched a goal and two assists for the Lightning, who are 7-3-1 in their past 11 games and have won eight of their past nine against Buffalo.

Anthony Cirelli had a goal and an assist, Ondrej Palat scored and Alex Killorn dished out three helpers and Victor Hedman had two.

Left wing Vinnie Hinostroza found the net, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen surrendered two goals on nine shots for the Sabres, who lost their sixth straight game (0-4-2) and are 2-8-1 in their past 11.

Malcolm Subban (23 saves) replaced Luukkonen to start the second period.

Leading scorer Tage Thompson -- a 12-goal producer -- missed the match for short-handed Buffalo after being placed in COVID protocol.

Right wing Jack Quinn made his NHL debut skating on a line with Hinostroza and center Dylan Cozens.

After having their third COVID-related game postponed Monday in New Jersey, the Lightning took it to the Sabres, who won the first meeting 5-1 in Buffalo on Oct. 25.

Just 2:16 into the first, Tampa Bay turned to its second-leading goal scorer Palat, who took a flipped pass from Hedman and popped in his 15th marker from the slot.

Recently returned to the lineup after being in COVID protocol, Cirelli pushed the lead to 2-0 at 10:45 with his 10th on a sweet breakout started by Killorn.

After Kucherov's two markers, Stamkos rang a shot that bounced in off the right post for his team-leading 17th goal at 14:04 in the three-goal second frame.

Hinostroza's putback in the third broke up Vasilevskiy's shutout bid before Kucherov clinched his hat trick.

-Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
 
Tampa Bay   Buffalo
Nikita Kucherov 3 Points Vinnie Hinostroza 1
Nikita Kucherov 3 Goals Vinnie Hinostroza 1
Alex Killorn 3 Assists Will Butcher 1
Nikita Kucherov 1 Power Play Goals Vinnie Hinostroza 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Andrei Vasilevskiy .944 Save Percentage Malcolm Subban .852
Andrei Vasilevskiy 17 Saves Malcolm Subban 23
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Tampa Bay 36 6 1-2 3-4 8 22
Buffalo 18 1 1-4 1-2 4 26
Upcoming Games
  • Buffalo will play their next game on the road against Nashville. The Sabres have a W/L % of .455 after a win and .208 after a loss.
  • Tampa Bay will play their next game at home against Vancouver. The Lightning have a W/L % of .625 after a win and .643 after a loss.