Tampa wins first game without Boucher

By
Updated: March 27, 2013

New Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper wasn’t
present on the bench, but he is surely pleased with the Lightning’s defensive
effort in a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St Louis each set up one another’s goals, helping
Tampa Bay snap a three-game losing streak. Mathieu Garon needed to make only
13 saves to pick up his fourth win of the season and first against a team
other than Carolina.

“We worked extremely hard, made plays and executed,” Stamkos said. “It was a
great win for us. It’s always nice to get back in the win column.”

The Lightning fired Guy Boucher Sunday morning and named Cooper, the head
coach for Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, his replacement Monday
evening.

Cooper, however, will not make his NHL coaching debut until Friday, when the
Lightning host New Jersey. Assistants Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas shared the
coaching responsibilities Tuesday night.

Ryan Miller stopped 21 shots for Buffalo, which had a three-game winning
streak come to an end.

“There wasn’t a lot of urgency in anything tonight,” Buffalo coach Ron Rolston
admitted. “(We’ll) just get ready for the next game. We got to win the next
one.”

Jordan Leopold spoiled Garon’s shutout bid with 3:08 remaining in the third
period. The Sabres defenseman let go a slap shot from the high slot that
sailed past the goalie’s left pad.

Stamkos staked Tampa Bay to a 1-0 lead at the 16:01 mark of the first period
with his NHL-leading 23rd goal of the season on a one-timer from the slot.

It was St. Louis who set up Stamkos and the veteran forward beat Miller in the
middle frame to make it 2-0. With the Lightning on a 5-on-3 power play, Teddy
Purcell fed St. Louis for a one-timer from the right circle at 8:15. Stamkos
was credited with the secondary helper.

Game Notes

Buffalo is the only other NHL team to change coaches this season … Sabres
defenseman Andrej Sekera missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body
injury.