Lightning enter New Year with lead in Atlantic

January 01, 2015 18:51:44 UK

Ondrej Palat was on target as the Lightning defeated the Sabres.

The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the Montreal Canadiens by two points in the Atlantic Division following their victory over the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Eve.

Nikita Kucherov scored twice and Matt Carle, Ondrej Palat and Brett Connolly were also on target for the visitors to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo as the Lightning eased to a 5-1 triumph. Friday Tampa Bay plays the second game of their road swing at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh against the Penguins before continuing on to Ottawa and Montreal in the four-game trip.

The Canadiens, like the Lightning, have won four straight with victories over the Senators, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers, the latter three away from the friendly confines of the Bell Centre. Friday Montreal will be at the Prudential Center in Newark to take on the New Jersey Devils before following Tampa Bay into Pittsburgh to match up with the Penguins.

The Metropolitan Division leaders snapped their four-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes. Brandon Sutter’s late strike through a crowd of players secured the points for the hosts who out shot Carolina 39 to 25 on the night.

Not to be out done the New York Islanders kept pace with Pittsburgh with a 5-2 triumph over the Jets at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Andrew Ladd recorded both goals for the hosts, but the Jets missed out on the opportunity to pull even with the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

The Lightning are 11.00 to win the Stanley Cup, while the Canadiens can be backed at 13.00.

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