The Buffalo Sabres were defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Mellon Arena, 5-2, Saturday night.
The Sabres traveled to Pittsburgh after an embarrassing 6-1 loss at home against Columbus in front of a sellout crowd. Ryan Miller was also back between the pipes after getting the night off Friday.
Buffalo started the game flying. Despite playing their second game in as many nights they were skating hard, and were making good decisions in their own zone. The Sabres struck first at the 8:14 mark of the first period when defensemen Andrej Sekera’s shot from the point was stopped by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Jason Pominville was able to put home the rebound.
Pominville’s goal was his seventh of the season and third goal in three games after having a slow start to the season. The Sabres remained calm in their own zone throughout the first period and were able to slow down the dangerous attack of the Pittsburgh offense. The Sabres outshot the Penguins 11-6 in the first and played very good defensively also.
In the second period the Sabres got into some penalty trouble. Toni Lydman took a tripping penalty and at the 11:07 mark of the period, Evgeni Malkin’s shot from the point trickled past Ryan Miller tying the game at one.
Throughout the second Buffalo remained in penalty trouble, and had their backs against the wall against Pittsburgh’s dangerous scoring threats. But Buffalo was able to withstand the Penguins fire power because of the excellent play of their goaltender. Miller made some key saves while on the penalty kill and Buffalo was then able to capitalize on a power play of their own late in the period.
Clarke MaCarthur fed a nice pass in front to Thomas Vanek who scored his league-leading 13th goal of the season to put Buffalo up 2-1 going into the third period.
The score remained 2-1 until under nine minutes left in regulation when Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby set up rookie defensemen Alex Goligoski on a one-timer to tie it at two. But the scoring was not over for Pittsburgh.
Just two minutes later Jordan Staal tapped one in to put the Penguins in front 3-1. And a minute later Ruslan Fedotanko ripped home a nice pass from Malkin to put the Penguins in the lead 4-2. Staal capped off the game when he added an empty net goal in the dying seconds to make it 5-2.
The Sabres defense fell apart in the late going against Pittsburgh and have allowed 11 goals in their past two games. Forward Jason Pominville said after the game, “We’re tired of being scored against. We’ve got to make sure we sharpen up defensively before our next game.”
Buffalo was able to play the style of game they wanted to for 50 minutes until it all seemed to fall apart. Coach Lindy Ruff was not happy after the loss.
“We let this one slip away,” Ruff said. “We took a big penalty with five minutes left, and panicked a bit. Our coverage broke down and they were able to capitalize. We played fifty to fifty five strong minutes and let it get away.”
The Sabres have lost four of their last five games and remain on the road for their next game against the Northeast Division leading Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.