TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It took until late November for the Tampa Bay Lightning to lose back-to-back games. They will have a good chance to get back on track on the road Tuesday against the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
The Lightning (16-5-2) are coming off back-to-back losses to Washington and Pittsburgh over the weekend, and they have dropped three of their past four games going back to Nov. 18. That is unfamiliar territory for the leaders of the Atlantic Division. Prior to those four contests, Tampa Bay had won five in a row and had just four losses total in its first 19 games of the season.
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"We've got to build on the foundation we started here since training camp," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, according to the league's website. "It's been really good. Take away our last four games here where we've dropped three of them, I like a lot of what's going on. We've hit a speed bump here, but we've got some veterans in that locker room.
"It's tough to put a halt to it when the games are piling up … all of a sudden you've lost a couple. … Let's regroup."
The Lightning will look to get their top line -- Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov -- back on track after a quiet stretch of games.
Stamkos leads Tampa Bay in scoring with 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 23 games while Kucherov (17 goals, 17 assists) and Namestnikov (10 goals, 12 assists) are next on the stat sheet. Stamkos tops the league in points, and Kucherov is tied for second with the Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been sensational between the pipes for Tampa Bay this season. In 19 games, Vasilevskiy had a save percentage of .930 -- placing him in a tie for fourth in the league with the San Jose Sharks' Martin Jones.
The Sabres (6-14-4) played one of their better games of the season on the way to a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday before following that up with yet another disappointing performance in a 3-0 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal one day later.
The Sabres have lost eight of their past nine games and have struggled to find any level of consistency under first-year head coach Phil Housley.
Injuries and inconsistent play on both offense and defense are recurring themes for Buffalo.
"I think we just have to start holding guys accountable, start being honest with ourselves and our teammates," Sabres forward Jordan Nolan said after a loss last week to the Minnesota Wild. "This team hasn't been too successful over the years, and it needs to change. It's going to be a long, long season and a few seasons to come if that's the way it is."
Evander Kane leads the Sabres in scoring with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 24 games. Jack Eichel is second on the team with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 24 games. Robin Lehner has a save percentage of .905 in 18 games.