On Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins concluded their two-game road trip with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. After jumping out to an early two-goal lead, the Penguins had to fight back and hold on to top the Sabres, 4-3, on Hockey Day in America.
Almost becoming a given, the Penguins drew first blood when Pascal Dupuis deflected a Brooks Orpik slap shot past Ryan Miller thirty-five seconds into the game. Less than a minute later, the Penguins received a power play opportunity after Jason Pominville tripped up Chris Kunitz. Pittsburgh’s power play went to work and converted when Sidney Crosby checked in on his vacation home in Miller’s head and lit the lamp for his seventh goal of the season. Already down 2-0, Cody Hodgson sparked a Sabres comeback when he grabbed the rebound of a Christian Ehroff slap shot and wristed it past Marc-Andre Fleury. The first period concluded with the Penguins clinging to a 2-1 lead and outshooting the Sabres 11-7.
The second period saw a sequence of events that changed the flow of the game. Beginning at 7:39, Sidney Crosby took a penalty when he cross-checked Pominville. On the ensuing faceoff, Tanner Glass violated the new rule of using your hand to pass the puck on a draw after his stick broke. This put the Penguins down two men, and Buffalo was able to take advantage of that. With both Crosby and Glass in the box, Ehroff once again fired a shot from the point. This time it was deflected past Fleury by Thomas Vanek to tie the game at two going into the break.
Buffalo had a surge of life entering the third period. At 5:17 veteran agitator Steve Ott took a pass from Nathan Gerbe and wristed a shot past Fleury to put the Sabres in the lead for the first time in the game. With the game potentially from the Penguins, Pascal Dupuis scored his second goal of the afternoon. After Dupuis tied the game at three, the two squads were heading for overtime until Paul Martin rifled a shot past Miller at 17:56. That is all the Penguins would need, as they were able to hold on for the rest of the period for the 4-3 triumph.
The Penguins have the next two days off as they travel back to Pittsburgh to meet the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
-Steve Ott was given a 10-minute misconduct after the game ended for a skirmish with Marc-Andre Fleury and Craig Adams.
-Sidney Crosby has thirty-two points in twenty-two games against the Sabres.
1. Pascal Dupuis (2 goals, 1 assist)
2. Thomas Vanek (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Paul Martin (1 goal)