STOCKHOLM – The offensive production remains too inconsistent. As a result, the Buffalo Sabres' long-awaited trip to Sweden was rendered a complete dud.
The Sabres had a season-high 43 shots on goal and 74 shot attempts Saturday but didn't put nearly enough pucks in the net as the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled away late for a 5-3 win over Buffalo in the final Global Series game of the weekend in Ericsson Globe.
Sam Reinhart scored in the first period for Buffalo and Victor Olofsson used a sensational solo effort to get the Sabres within 3-2 at 4:14 of the third period. For a few minutes, that got the Buffalo fans in the split sellout crowd of 13,339 thinking about a big comeback.
It didn't last long. Yanni Gourde slipped around Casey Mittelstadt and scored right off a faceoff at 9:48 to make it 4-2 and Mathieu Joseph slid another puck under Carter Hutton from in tight at 10:55 to put the Lightning up by three and end the Sabres' hopes.
Jack Eichel's garbage time power-play goal with 37.3 seconds left accounted for the final score.
The records: The Sabres fell to 9-6-2. They are 0-4 in November and 1-5-1 in their last seven games. Tampa Bay (8-5-2) got within two points of Buffalo in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo had a 43-40 edge in shots, with the 83 shots the most combined in a Sabres game this season.
"We played good enough to win today," said Sabres center Marcus Johansson. "We had enough shots and opportunities and the puck didn't seem to go our way. That'ts the way it is sometimes. We have another crack at this and have that many shots, maybe we score five or six. But not tonight."
Reino power: The goals by Reinhart and Eichel left them tied for the team lead with eight apiece. Jeff Skinner and Olofsson each have seven.
Home country hero: Defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning's lone Swede, put Tampa ahead for keeps with a slapshot on a power-play at 1:58 of the second period that snapped a 1-1 tie.
Stripes report: The Sabres were furious with referee Chris Lee on Friday night when no penalty was called on Nikita Kucherov's low bridge of Vladimir Sobotka. Lee and Eric Furlatt were the focus of Buffalo's ire again Saturday as two dicey calls led to Tampa power-play goals.
Hedman's goal came just seven seconds after an interference call on Johansson in the offensive zone on a play where Johansson and Tampa's Joseph were looking in opposite directions and bumped into each other. Several Buffalo players, including captain Jack Eichel, hopped to their feet in protest on the bench when that call was made.
"It was a moment that shifted the game away from us," said coach Ralph Krueger. "It's questionable for sure and I probably shouldn't say more than that, other than there was a collision of two players moving through the same space and Johansson was the bigger and stronger of the two.
"But there's no excuses in this game. We had enough opportunity to manage the score here and we didn't do it. The only ones we should be angry at here is ourselves."
Tampa's first goal was also a tough one for the Sabres to take. Pat Maroon scored it at 17:02 of the first period on the back end of a double deflection with Brandon Montour in the box for roughing. Yanni Gourde took a shot that first struck Colin Miller, then hit Maroon and finally fluttered past Carter Hutton. The Montour penalty came as he roughed up Tampa's Tyler Johnson after a whistle while several players were pushing and shoving in front of the Buffalo net.
Tough timing: Maroon's second goal came with only three seconds left in the second period as he and Gourde got behnd Jake McCabe and simply jammed a loose puck past Hutton just before the horn.
Shuffle 'em up: With Sobotka out with a right leg injury suffered on the Kucherov hit, Krueger did some surgery on his forward lines for this game Johansson got two new wingers in Jimmy Vesey and Mittelstadt, who moved from center. Evan Rodrigues came into the lineup to center Conor Sheary and Jeff Skinner, who was moved away from Johansson for the first time this year.
Next: The Sabres are slated to fly home Sunday morning and they will be taking three days off to recover from the long trip to Sweden. The current schedule has them staying off the ice until Wednesday. The next game is Thursday in KeyBank Center in Carolina and that starts a stretch of three games in four nights.