Dino Ciccarelli hasn't lost that magic touch in front of the net.
The 36-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning veteran added to the Buffalo Sabres' misery Tuesday night at Marine Midland Arena, tipping home the first two goals of the game in a 4-0 victory before a crowd announced at 13,371.
Still seeking their first victory in their new home, the Sabres again lacked any semblance of scoring punch and offensive continuity against Tampa Bay rookie goaltender Corey Schwab, who made 22 saves in posting his first NHL shutout.
Buffalo (1-4) has been outscored, 10-1, in two home games and 18-6 overall. The Sabres have owned only one lead in their five games.
"The kiddie gloves are coming off," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan, visibly upset with his team's second straight lackluster performance at home.
"Tomorrow," he said, "we're going to try and change some things. We're going to make it so miserable that no one will want to come to work."
The get-tough-and-shake-things-up approach worked several times last season. It remains to be seen if the same type of reaction will jolt the team out of its current doldrums.
Besides Ciccarelli's two goals, the Lightning also got tallies from defenseman Drew Bannister, his first NHL goal, and Jason Wiemer as coach Terry Crisp's Lightning improved to 3-1. Chris Gratton had assists on two Tampa Bay goals against Dominik Hasek, who made 26 saves.
The first three Tampa Bay goals came on plays from the point.
Ciccarelli tipped home shots by Gratton and former Sabres defenseman Bill Houlder to give his team a 2-0 lead by 4:18 of the second period.
Bannister also scored in the second with a fluttering shot from the right point that seemed to fool Hasek.
Wiemer's goal came at 2:30 of the third when he tipped a goalmouth pass into the net. Ciccarelli, who was obtained from Detroit in a trade last June, is 12th on the NHL's all-time goals list with 554, just two behind former Boston Bruin John Bucyk.
Many of those goals have come on tips and deflections from in front, something his teammates kid him about.
"Brian Bradley (a Tampa Bay teammate) asked me how many goals have I actually shot into the net out of the 500," Ciccarelli said. "I work on that part of the game. I'm not as gifted as far as skating and puck handling goes."
Ciccarelli's first goal came on the power play, the third in a row that referee Lance Roberts gave the Lightning early in the first period. It was Tampa Bay's first power-play goal of the season after the Lightning had gone 0 for 18.
"The first one was a shot about belt high," Ciccarelli said. "He (Hasek) went to grab it and I knocked it down and went 5-hole (between the pads) on him.
"On the other one, I put my stick up and Billy Houlder saw it. It was a good play by Billy, and I was fortunate to get my stick on it."
Ciccarelli brings some seasoning and scoring punch to a young Tampa Bay team that made the playoffs for the first time last season and extended the favored Philadelphia Flyers to six games before losing in the opening round.
"We knew exactly what we were getting," Crisp said. "The attitude he was going to bring to our hockey club, the feistiness and the work ethic, which has been just unbelievable throughout training camp.
"We put him on (a line) with the two youngsters (Gratton and Wiemer) . . . and he's bringing their play up a level."
Ciccarelli was obtained for forward Kevin Miller. He is in the last year of his contract but said he is negotiating an extension with Tampa Bay general manager Phil Esposito.
"They've got a young team that is going to go places eventually," Ciccarelli said. "I'm just trying to be a piece of the puzzle, trying to help these guys get to the next level."
This is Ciccarelli's fourth NHL stop after playing with Minnesota, Washington and Detroit.
He still is looking for a Stanley Cup.
"I've had a lot of individual statistics. They're nice to reflect on when you're done and you get to sit back. The one thing I'd like to be part of is winning the Stanley Cup. I've been to the finals a few times."
Schwab said a couple of chances by Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine in the third period gave him the most trouble as he posted the shutout, only three nights after earning his first NHL victory.
"It certainly is a great feeling," Schwab said.
The 25-year-old Schwab came to the Lightning in a trade from the New Jersey Devils, where he was stuck behind the talented Martin Brodeur.
With the Lightning, he backs up former Sabre Daren Puppa, who has a history of back problems and needs occasional rest.
"I was definitely excited about it (the trade) because I didn't get to play a lot of games last year with New Jersey," Schwab said. "And with Martin Brodeur . . . he is one of the best in the league and he's a year younger than I am. I didn't think I'd get to play. I would have been happy to stay there, but here with Daren Puppa's background, he doesn't play every game as Martin Brodeur does."
The Sabres had only 22 shots and failed to score in six power-play opportunities.
Only one other Buffalo team in 27 seasons lost its first two home games.
That was the 1993-94 Sabres, who started 0-7 at Memorial Auditorium and did not win until a 6-0 victory over Winnipeg on Nov. 18 of that year.