Dylan Cozens scores 2 goals as Sabres beat Lightning 4-2 to finish another disappointing season

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dylan Cozens scored twice and the Buffalo Sabres concluded another disappointing season with a 4-2 win over the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.

Jordan Greenway and Zach Benson also scored for the Sabres, who will miss the playoffs for an NHL-record 13th consecutive season.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos reached the 40-goal mark for the seventh time in his NHL career, Erik Cernak scored midway through the third period and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for Tampa Bay, which is assured of finishing as the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning, 0-2-1 in their past three games, will play either Boston or Florida in the first round of the playoffs after concluding their regular season against Toronto on Wednesday night.

Buffalo needed just 1:26 from the opening faceoff to take a 1-0 lead when Cozens snapped the rebound of Jack Quinn’s shot past Vasilevskiy. He put the Sabres ahead 2-1 with a short-handed goal at 5:08 of the second.

Greenway, who set up Cozens’ second goal, made it 3-1 at 16:12, helping the Sabres defeat the Lightning for the third time in their four meetings, and Benson added a third-period goal.

Buffalo goalie Eric Comrie, playing for the first time since March 7, made 31 saves. He had been 0-7-1 since winning his first start of the season on Oct. 21.

Stamkos’ goal at 2:27 of the second period tied the game 1-1 and came off a pass from NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov, who earned his 99th assist and 142nd point.

Cernak’s goal at 9:39 of the third cut the margin to 3-2, but Benson scored 15 seconds later.



John Kreiser, The Associated Press