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Buffalo Sabres end season on a losing note

4-2 loss in Tampa caps season

April 09, 2017 - 9:35 pm
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TAMPA, Fla. (WBEN/AP) — Brayden Point scored a pair of goals, including the winner with 1:24 left, as the Tampa Bay Lightning topped the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in the season finale for both teams Sunday.  The Buffalo Sabres skate into the offseason after two consecutive losses in the sunshine state over the weekend.

Braydon Coburn scored a short-handed goal and Victor Hedman added an empty-netter for the disappointing Lightning, who finished 42-30-10 for 94 points, but were considered a preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference and were less than two years removed from playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tampa Bay won four of its last five, but had its playoff hopes end Saturday night when Toronto defeated Pittsburgh.

William Carrier and Evander Kane scored for Buffalo, which finished 33-37-12.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves for the Lightning, while Linus Ullmark stopped 33 of 36 shots he faced for the Sabres.

Carrier put the Sabres up 1-0 nearly 14 minutes into the game. Point tied it with his first goal in the second with assists from Hedman and Jake Dotchin.

With 12 minutes left in the second, the Lightning took the lead on Coburn's short-handed goal off assists from Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn.

Kane tied it again at 2 with 8:43 left in the game with his team-leading 28th goal.

"Mentally, it's been very difficult," Kane said. "The last three weeks, we have known we were out of it. Some of us were hoping that this game would mean a little more than it did (Sunday), but, obviously, that wasn't the case. It's another year of not being where we want to be."

Point's second of the game put the Lightning ahead when he was trying to make a pass to Luke Witkowski on the back post, but the puck deflected into the Buffalo net off Rasmus Ristolainen's skate.

Hedman's empty-netter came with 1 second left.

NOTES: Hedman picked up his 300th career NHL point with his assist on Point's goal in the second. ... Tampa Bay D Jason Garrison, C Tyler Johnson and C Cedric Paquette were all scratches. ... Lightning RW J.T. Brown returned to the lineup after missing two games. ... Buffalo LW C.J. Smith and C Sean Malone were both healthy scratches.

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