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Lightning-Sabres Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning feature the league's highest scoring team, and their power play has been rolling during a four-game win streak.

The Buffalo Sabres are last in the league in goals per game and power-play percentage, though they have been playing better lately.

These Atlantic Division rivals meet for the first time Tuesday night when they begin a home-and-home set in Buffalo.

Tampa Bay (17-6-2) opened this two-game trip by winning 6-3 over the New York Rangers on Monday. Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson each scored twice for the Lightning, who boosted their league-best average to 3.60 goals.

''This was special for me, to get two here. My first two-goal game,'' Connolly said. ''We didn't have our best, but we found a way in the third period."

The Lightning prevailed despite getting just one point from their top line of Ryan Callahan, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn. Stamkos' assist gave him seven points in a five-game run and 29 for the year, with Johnson second with 26.

Tampa Bay is 5 for 15 on the power play during this win streak and at 24.1 percent on the season.

Buffalo (8-14-2) could have trouble keeping up if Tampa Bay gets on another scoring roll. The Sabres average 1.67 goals with a power play that is connecting at just 7.2 percent.

There are positive signs in a 5-1-0 stretch capped by a home-and-home sweep of Montreal, 2-1 on Friday and 4-3 in a shootout the next night.

"Right now, the guys are feeling good about themselves," coach Ted Nolan said. "They're putting in time. They're putting in the effort. We're getting some breaks and we're getting some wins."

The Sabres may receive a boost to their offense. Cody McCormick may be back from a three-game absence due to an undisclosed injury while fellow forward Drew Stafford may return after sitting out Saturday with a lower-body injury.

The defense will be healthier with the return of Josh Gorges, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury. He leads the NHL with 3.5 blocks per game.

That is critical for Buffalo, which is allowing an NHL-worst 36.5 shots on goal per game.

"Everybody comes at our team, they do the same thing, they just throw the pucks at the net," Nolan said.

The Lightning average 29.4 shots to rank in the league's bottom third, and coach Jon Cooper would like to see more attempts after his club was outshot 35-21 on Monday.

"Our biggest issue was that we didn't shoot," Cooper said. "We were talking about it, we almost want to pass the puck into the net at times sometimes."

This is the Lightning's sixth set of back-to-back games, and they have yet to give Ben Bishop starts in both ends. Bishop made 32 saves Monday and will likely give way to Evgeni Nabokov, who has a 3.71 goals-against average in his five starts.

Jhonas Enroth is the likely starter for Buffalo. He is 3-0-1 with a 1.74 GAA in four starts versus Tampa Bay.

The Lightning went 3-1-0 in the 2013-14 season series, twice rallying from third-period deficits for overtime wins in Buffalo. These teams play Thursday in Florida.

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