BUFFALO, N.Y. - After enduring rough starts in their last five home games, the Buffalo Sabres rebounded with a record-setting performance.
Tyler Myers, Jochen Hecht and Clarke MacArthur scored in the first 2:11, and the Sabres held on for a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
Buffalo's early burst was the fastest three-goal start in team history. Myers' goal 23 seconds into play came on a slap shot immediately following a faceoff. Hecht scored 48 seconds later on a tip-in from the slot, and MacArthur finished the flurry with a scoop-in after goalie Mike Smith made the initial stop.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the fourth-fastest start by a team since 1979-80, and the fastest since Detroit scored three times in the first 1:48 of a 12-0 rout of Chicago in December 1987.
It was in sharp contrast to the Sabres' recent efforts at home, where they had been outscored 4-1 and outshot 54-20 in the first period of their last five games.
"It was nice to come out the way we did," Myers said. "Especially the way we started some games here in the past, we're starting to figure out we have to play a full 60 minutes if we want to win a hockey game."
"It's not often you get three goals that quick," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added. "Some of them were seeing-eye dogs that found a way to go in."
Tampa Bay battled back, getting first-period goals from St. Louis and Victor Hedman in a 1:22 span to trim Buffalo's lead to 3-2.
"I couldn't believe it," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. "You can't put yourself into a hole like that. It's hard."
Drew Stafford scored on the power play 1:19 into the second period to restore Buffalo's two-goal cushion, but Vincent Lecavalier got Tampa Bay back to 4-3 with a tuck-in four minutes later.
Then, 7½ minutes in, Jason Pominville knifed in a loose puck from the crease to round out the scoring. The play was reviewed for four minutes being finally being allowed to stand.
Buffalo won its fifth straight game, the team's longest winning streak since a six-game stretch in December 2007. Ryan Miller made 36 saves in his 300th NHL game.
Tampa Bay outshot Buffalo 13-5 in the third period, but Miller stopped all attempts and was helped when a shot by Mattias Ohlund rang off a goal post midway through.
"Even though we made a game out of it, we didn't play our 'A' game and I don't know if they did either," Ohlund said. "There were a lot of chances back and forth."
"Tampa has a lot of skill and they've been going good lately," Miller said. "We weren't going to keep them completely flat on their back."
The Lightning are 5-2-1 in their last eight. Smith, making his seventh straight start, stopped 30 shots.
"Obviously not the way you want to start a game," Smith said. "That put us behind the 8-ball right off the bat. I didn't even have a chance to get a sweat in."
Toni Lydman, Tim Connolly and Craig Rivet each had two assists for the Sabres.
NOTES: Connolly extended his point streak to seven games, matching his career best previously done in January 2001 while with the New York Islanders. ... St. Louis' goal gave him points in eight straight games. ... Tampa Bay LW Alex Tanguay played in his 700th NHL game. ... Ruff earned his 465th victory, breaking a tie with Glen Sather for fourth place for career wins with one club. Ruff needs 35 wins to tie No. 3 Toe Blake, who had 500 with Montreal. Ruff was also part of the previous Buffalo record for fastest three-goal start. He scored the second goal when the Sabres scored 3 in the first 2:17 against the New York Islanders on Oct. 26, 1980.