Tampa, FL – Tyler Myers scored the game-winner less than a minute into the third period to help Buffalo Sabres interim head coach Ron Rolston earn his first NHL victory with a 2-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rolston, who replaced long-time Buffalo bench boss Lindy Ruff, had led the Sabres to back-to-back losses, but got 30 saves from Ryan Miller on Tuesday, as Buffalo snapped a four-game skid.
"It was great," Rolston said of his first NHL victory behind the bench. "The battle level and the competitive nature we had tonight was outstanding."
Cody Hodgson added a goal and an assist, while Thomas Vanek finished with a pair of helpers in the victory.
Steven Stamkos extended his goal-streak to six games with his 14th tally of the season, but it wasn't enough, as Mathieu Garon gave up two goals on 21 shots in Tampa Bay's second consecutive setback.
Stamkos wasted little time extending his goal streak, as he lit the lamp just under 90 seconds in when he recovered a rebound off a Cory Conacher shot and beat Miller to the stick side, making it 1-0 at the 1:24 mark.
Tampa Bay turned the puck over at its own blue line to help the Sabres find the equalizer near the midpoint of the first.
After Vanek intercepted a pass at the blue line, Andrej Sekera flipped a shot from the right point that missed the net, but Hodgson recovered the rebound and tucked the puck just inside the left post to knot the game at the 10:02 mark.
After a scoreless second stanza, Buffalo pulled in front less than a minute into the third when Vanek fanned on a backhand attempt that left Garon out of position. With the Tampa Bay netminder scrambling, Myers recovered the puck at the top of the right circle and ripped the disc into the empty net for a 2-1 lead just 52 seconds into the frame.
Miller was tested mightily from there, but he turned away all 12 shots he faced in the frame to help the Sabres hang on for the victory.
"I have to give credit, their goaltender was just unbelievable today," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said of Miller. "It's not just that he was lucky, he played great."
Tampa Bay took three of the four matchups against Buffalo last season ... Rolston replaced Ruff as Buffalo's head coach last Wednesday ... Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 on the power play, while Buffalo failed on its only chance with the man advantage.