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game recap

Penguins 5, Sabres 2

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:35 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 5, Sabres 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Buffalo Sabres 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - As if securing the Pittsburgh Penguins 12th straight victory wasn't good enough, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was happier to learn that teammates Sidney Crosby extended his impressive scoring streak.

"Sid got a point today? Oh, nice!" Fleury said, when informed the Penguins captain had an assist to register a point in his 18th straight game in Pittsburgh's 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. "I was a little scared. I didn't want to ask him. But yeah, good."

Forgive Fleury for missing that official announcement in the midst of his 34-save performance that extended his personal winning streak to 11.

"Eleven games? Yeah, that's one, too," Fleury said. "I think everybody's happy with that."

Pittsburgh is on such a roll in all phases that it's difficult to keep track of all the streaks.

The Penguins (21-8-2) haven't lost since a 3-2 overtime defeat to the New York Rangers on Nov. 15. They matched a franchise record by winning their seventh straight road game. And, with 44 points, the Pens maintained their lead atop the NHL standings, a point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

With both teams winning on Saturday, it sets up an intriguing all-Pennsylvania midseason showdown between two of the NHL's top teams at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

As for Crosby's point streak, in which he has 20 goals and 16 assists, he's one short of matching a career best.

And in a game Crosby was nearly held off the score sheet, after he failed to score on a pair of second-period breakaways, he came up big with his lone assist. Crosby set up Alex Goligoski's goal that stood up as the winner 12:09 into the third period.

Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and assist, and Arron Asham, Michael Rupp and Matt Cooke, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Penguins.

Tyler Ennis and Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres (12-14-4), 3-1-1 in their past five.

Despite outshooting the Penguins 36-24, the Sabres blew numerous scoring chances and converted just one of five power-play opportunities as Ennis' goal came with a two-man advantage.

Pominville was set up alone three times but missed the net twice and turned over the puck by passing instead of shooting. And when the Sabres got shots on goal, Fleury made big saves.

His best came 4:30 in, when Fleury got his left toe out to stop Mike Grier's attempt at redirecting Paul Gaustad's centering pass.

"I don't want to hear you talk about how we had a great opportunity, a missed chance," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "If you're going to win a game like that, you have to take advantage of the turnovers that we created."

Ruff knew the Sabres had to be at their best if they were going to get the best of the Penguins.

"If you're going to beat that team when they're running that good, put it away," Ruff said.

The Penguins, coming off a 5-2 win over Toronto on Wednesday, appeared in control when Jeffrey and Asham provided them a 2-0 lead before the first period was 10 minutes old.

The outcome wasn't decided until the third period, which began with the Penguins nursing a 2-1 lead.

After Goligoski and Pominville traded goals 51 seconds apart, Rupp scored with 3:17 remaining when he poked in Jeffrey's centering pass behind goalie Ryan Miller.

"We were talking before the game that none of us had the opportunity to win 12 in a row," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It feels good to get it, but we're going to put this one behind us and move on to the next one."

Crosby was already looking ahead to Pittsburgh's game against the Flyers.

"Obviously, it's a big rivalry with us," Crosby said. "That's going to be a big one."

Notes: The Penguins have also registered a point in 15 straight games (14-0-1), their longest streak since going 14-0-2 during the 2006-07 season. ... Penguins C Evgeni Malkin missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury, but skated mostly on his own Saturday morning for the first time in a week. ... Crosby's career-best point streak is a 19-game stretch, during which he had 11 goals and 19 assists from Oct. 6 to Nov. 17, 2007. ... Sabres captain D Craig Rivet was a healthy scratch for an eighth straight game.

scoring summary
1st Period
06:43
PIT
Dustin Jeffrey (1) Tip-in - ASST: Ben Lovejoy (3), Craig Adams (5)
1 - 0 PIT
09:31
PIT
Arron Asham (4) Slapshot - ASST: Maxime Talbot (4)
2 - 0 PIT
15:49
BUF
PPG - Tyler Ennis (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Derek Roy (20), Thomas Vanek (12)
2 - 1 PIT
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
12:09
PIT
Alex Goligoski (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Pascal Dupuis (8), Sidney Crosby (25)
3 - 1 PIT
13:00
BUF
Jason Pominville (4) Backhand shot - ASST: Tyler Myers (5), Andrej Sekera (6)
3 - 2 PIT
16:43
PIT
Mike Rupp (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Dustin Jeffrey (1)
4 - 2 PIT
19:17
PIT
EN - Matt Cooke (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Craig Adams (6)
5 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
00:12
BUF
Andrej Sekera  Tripping against  Pascal Dupuis
10:53
PIT
Ben Lovejoy  Hooking against  Cody McCormick
14:45
PIT
Craig Adams  Tripping against  Thomas Vanek
15:23
PIT
Pascal Dupuis  Hooking against  Jason Pominville
15:49
PIT
Matt Cooke  Fighting (maj) against  Jason Pominville
15:49
BUF
Paul Gaustad  Roughing against  Matt Cooke
15:49
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Roughing against  Paul Gaustad
15:49
BUF
Jason Pominville  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Cooke
2nd Period
06:14
PIT
Marc-Andre Fleury  Hi-sticking against  Derek Roy
09:34
BUF
Steve Montador  Slashing against  Sidney Crosby
11:47
BUF
Mike Weber  Roughing against  Sidney Crosby
11:47
BUF
Mike Weber  Roughing against  Sidney Crosby
11:47
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Mike Weber
3rd Period
00:24
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Interference against  Cody McCormick
06:51
BUF
Thomas Vanek  Hi-sticking against  Zbynek Michalek
11:03
BUF
Nathan Gerbe  Slashing against  Kris Letang
11:03
PIT
Kris Letang  Slashing against  Nathan Gerbe
goalie stats
Marc-Andre Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury
14-6-1
SA: 36TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 30 - 31
PIM: 2PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .944SH: 1 - 1
Ryan Miller
SA: 23TOI: 59:02
Saves: 19EV: 16 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .826SH: 0 - 0