Penguins Unleash the Hounds in 3rd Period, Beat Sabres 5-2

Donning their new powder blue 3rd Jerseys, the Pittsburgh Penguins posted yet another late game comeback by scoring 4-goals in the last 8:17 of the game to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Saturday night.  Trailing 2-1 with less than 9-minutes to go in the game, the Penguins converted on a powerplay to tie the game, and then unleashed 3 more, including an empty netter to clinch the win.  Evgeni Malkin not only kept his league leading scoring streak alive at 13-games, he picked up 4-points (1G, 3A) to regain the NHL scoring lead and increased his league leading assists total.  Malkin now has 3-more points (30) than #2 Alexander Semin (27) and 7 more assists (23) than #2 Sidney Crosby (16). 

In the 1st period, the Buffalo Sabres came out shooting, looking to avenge their prior night’s 6-1 loss to the Carolina Bluejackets.  The Sabres ultimately outshot the Penguins 11-6, and connected for an even strength goal at 8:14 to make it 1-0.  Jason Pominville collected his 7th goal of the season on a wrist shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.  Andrej Sekera and Adam Mair picked up the assists on the play, the only goal of the period.  The Penguins went 0-for-2 on the powerplay and were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.   

In the 2nd period, the Penguins’ offensively loaded powerplay beat the 2nd best penalty kill in the league and evened the score at 1-1.  At 11:07,  Evgeni Malkin blistered a shot from the blueline on a perfect feed from Alex Goligoski.  While Sabres netminder Ryan Miller was able to get in front of the heavy shot, he couldn’t stop its momentum as it trickled across the goal line behind him.  Ruslan Fedotenko was credited with the other assist.  At 18:50, Tyler Kennedy was sent to the box on a hooking call giving the Sabres a late chance to restore their lead.  Thomas Vanek, posted in front of the Penguins’ net, pushed off Mark Eaton to free himself up at the side of the net where he took a perfect pass through the crease and deposited it in the net behind Fluery.  Clarke MacArthur and Derek Roy picked up the assists on the goal, putting Vanek in a tie with with Alexander Semin for the league’s most goals (13).  The Penguins outshot the Sabres 10-6 in the 2nd, going 1-for-3 on the powerplay and 2-for-3 on the kill. 

In the 3rd period, the Penguins got one more shot on the powerplay and they made the Sabres pay.  At 11:43 with Henrik Tallinder in the box for tripping, the Penguins #1 powerplay unit went to work.  With 48-seconds left on the powerplay, Evgeni Malkin fed a pass from the blueline to Sidney Crosby working along the walls.  Crosby faked a shot on net that committed Ryan Miller and the defense, and instead made a hard cross-ice pass to a wide open Alex Goligoski who laced it into the open side of the net to tie the game 2-2.  Then with just 4:33 left in the game, Jordan Staal connected on a beautiful bang-bang play on a quick pass from Matt Cooke from behind the net to beat Miller and take the 3-2 lead.  Workhorse Tyler Kennedy picked up the other assist.  Just over a minute later, the Sabres turned the puck over deep in the Penguins zone giving the Pens a 3-on-1 breakout with Evgeni Malkin leading the charge.  With Petr Sykora streaking down the other side of the ice, Ruslan Fedotenko held up ever so slightly to get himself free behind the lone Sabres’ defenseman.  Malkin saw Fedotenko coming late and fed him a tape-to-tape pass that he buried in the net to make it 4-2.  Petr Sykora was credited with the other assist.  Finally at 19:36 with Ryan Miller pulled for the extra attacker, Evgeni Malkin took a chip pass from Petr Sykora and started up ice with Jordan Staal on a 2-on-1.  Malkin unselfishly passed the puck to Staal who deposited the puck in the empty net for his 6th goal and 7th point in the last 4-games.  The Penguins outshot the Sabres 9-6 in the final frame and converted on the period’s only powerplay. 

Evgeni Malkin led the team with 4-points (1G, 3A).  Jordan Staal (2G), Alex Goligoski (1G, 1A), Ruslan Fedotenko (1G, 1A), and Petr Sykora (2A) all connected for 2-points.  Sidney Crosby (1A), Tyler Kennedy (1A), and Matt Cooke all collected a point.  Max Talbot (2-for-2) was perfect on the faceoff.  Evgeni Malkin (5-for-6) was 83% on the faceoff, while Mike Zigomanis (8-for-14) was 57%.  Evgeni Malkin also led the team in shots with 4, while Jordan Staal, Alex Goligoski, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tyler Kennedy and Miroslav Satan each had 3-shots on net.  Sidney Crosby only had 1-shot on the evening.  Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 of 23 shots for a 0.913 save percentage. 

Buffalo Sabres v Pittsburgh Penquins

The win improved the Penguins’ record to 11-4-2, extended their unbeaten streak to 6-games, and advanced them into 2nd place in the Eastern Conference (tied in points with Boston, but leading in wins).  Despite their slow starts to games, the Penguins have scored 32 goals in their 6-game winning streak averaging 5.33 goals per game.  In the same stretch, they have given up 22-goals for an average of 3.67 goals against per game.  Evgeni Malkin’s scoring streak was extended to 13 games, the longest active streak in the NHL.  Malkin has accumulated 27-points (6G, 21A) during his 13-game points streak for a 2.08 point per game pace. 

The Penguins get a couple of days off before hosting the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.  The Penguins will again don their powder blue 3rd jerseys for their 2nd of 11-planned times this season.  The game wil be featured on the Versus network.

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