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 in Tampa.