Pittsburgh 4 – Buffalo 3
Sunday, February 17, 2013
First Niagara Center
Pittsburgh scored twice in the game’s opening 1:27 and extinguished the Sabres’ comeback effort with the winning goal late in final period to escape First Niagara Center with a 4-3 victory Sunday afternoon. The matinee was televised nationally on NBC as part of Hockey Day in America.
The Penguins scored on their first two shots of the game to jump out to an immediate 2-0 advantage before Cody Hodgson got the Sabres on the board with 6:32 gone in the first period. After being outshot 11-7 in the first, Buffalo put together its best second period of the season, highlighted by a Thomas Vanek power-play goal at the 10:44 mark to tie the game. Vanek’s fifth power-play score of the season pushed his league-leading goal total to 12.
Steve Ott connected on a one-timer off a feed from Nathan Gerbe to put the Sabres on top for the first time with 5:17 gone in the final period, before Pascal Dupuis knotted the game at 12:54. Ryan Miller made the biggest of his 31 saves to preserve the lead late in the third, sprawling across the crease to rob a James Neal one-timer. But the Penguins reclaimed the lead for good on a Paul Martin point shot with just 2:04 left to play.
Dupuis (2+1) and Sidney Crosby (1+2) each had three points in the win. Christian Ehrhoff had a pair of assists for the second straight game, while Vanek (1+1) also had two points to top the Sabres. Pittsburgh outshot Buffalo, 35-33.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
Buffalo and Pittsburgh became the first teams to combine for three goals on the first four shots of the game since the Sabres and Atlanta Thrashers on March 16, 2010… Thomas Vanek snapped his season-worst three-game scoreless streak with his goal in the second period; he now has six multi-point games this season… Cody Hodgson has now scored in consecutive games for the second time this season and is tied for 10th in the NHL with seven goals… Ryan Miller has stopped 167 of 179 shots (.933) in the Sabres’ last five games… Steve Ott had five hits, extending his league-leading total to 64… The Sabres have been outshot in four of their last five games; they are 4-8 when outshot this season… Tyler Ennis crossed the 20-minute ice time mark for the fourth time this season at 21:04… With assists today, Nathan Gerbe and Jochen Hecht each have points in consecutive games… Buffalo is in the middle of an eight-game stretch without any back-to-back games, the longest such streak of the season… This was the second nationally-televised Sunday matinee for the Sabres this season; Buffalo is 1-1 in such games… 171st game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo trails the series with a 62-68-41 record... Buffalo is 40-24-22 at home against the Penguins all-time.
Mike Weber played his 10th game of the season in place of Andrej Sekera, who was inactive with a lower-body injury … Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman T.J. Brennan were healthy scratches … Ville Leino (hip, 16 games) is the only Sabre currently on the IR.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS:
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 24:18
Shots: Tyler Ennis, 5
Blocked Shots: Jordan Leopold, 4
Faceoff Wins: Jochen Hecht, 14
Total Faceoffs: Jochen Hecht, 19
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN:
Opponent scores first: 1-6-1
Trailing after the first period: 0-3
Tied after the second period: 3-4
Outshot by opponent: 4-8
Overall: 8/59, 13.6%
Home: 7/29, 24.1%
Overall: 54/65, 83.1%
Home: 20/28, 71.4%
* Tuesday vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
* Thursday at Toronto, 7 p.m.
* Saturday vs. NY Islanders, 7 p.m.