TAMPA, FL - APRIL 2: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning battles for the puck against Jay Beagle #83 of the Washington Capitals during the second period at the St. Pete Times Forum on April 2, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Stamkos scores goals 57 and 58 as Lightning beat Capitals


There’s still hope for the Buffalo Sabres. At the start of the day, the eighth place Washington Capitals had a two-point lead over them and control of the tiebreaker with three games remaining in each team’s schedule. However, the Capitals squandered a chance to put in a nail in the coffin in their 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay Monday night.

After a scoreless first period, Alexander Semin netted his 20th goal of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. However, Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman struck back with goals just 25 seconds apart late in the second frame.

With less than five minutes left in the contest, Jason Chimera backhand a rebound past Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson to tie the game. It looked like the match would be decided in overtime and the Washington Capitals would get at least one critical point. Then Steven Stamkos stepped up.

Stamkos scored his 57th goal of the season at 18:57 of the third period and then helped himself to an empty netter with seconds left on the clock.

With three games left in the Lightning’s schedule, it’s entirely possible for Stamkos to become the first 60-goal scorer since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08.

The Buffalo Sabres now have a chance to tie the Washington Capitals in terms of points with a victory over Toronto on Tuesday, but that won’t be good enough as the Capitals control the tiebreaker. The two teams aren’t scheduled to play against each other in the final days of the regular season, so Buffalo needs more help if they are to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Washington can still guarantee itself a playoff spot by winning both of its final two games.

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer