Pittsburgh (26-12-1) at Buffalo (23-11-4)
The Sabres entered tonight’s game trailing the Penguins by three points in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo is coming off of a big win in St. Louis where Patrick Lalime earned a 5-3 win for Buffalo. Pittsburgh is coming off of a tough loss against Toronto. The Penguins tied the game late in the third, but Ian White scored with just a couple minutes remaining for the win.
The goaltender matchup looked to be a good one, but not so. Ryan Miller against Marc-Andre Fleury did not go as advertised.
Jordan Stall started the scoring with his 11th of the season to give Pittsburgh the early lead. Bill Guerin added another Penguins goal late in the second. Both teams had a number of chances, but it was Pittsburgh who came out on top 2-0 after the first. The Sabres were outshot 10-4 in the opening period.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Pittsburgh grabbed a three goal lead. Chris Kunitz fired a slap shot past Ryan Miller, ending the night for the Sabres goaltender. Miller stopped eight of 11 shots on the night.
Buffalo’s biggest chance came during the second period, when the Sabres had the puck in the crease with the Fleury out of the net. Former Sabre Jay Mckee fell on the puck to prevent the Sabres first goal. However, Drew Stafford was awarded a penalty shot and a chance to break the shutout. Stafford took a wrist shot and beat Fleury five-hole to put Buffalo on the board.
Stafford wasn’t done scoring. A little over two minutes later, he would tally his 9th of the season, putting the Sabres back to within one. Buffalo would get a chance to tie the game on a ensuing power play, but it was Pittsburgh with the best chance during those two minutes. The Penguins had a two on one, but as the player went to shoot it, his stick snapped in half, and the Sabres escaped a shorthanded goal against.
In the third, Buffalo rushed down the ice on a three on two, and guess who was there again. Stafford passed to Paul Gaustad in front of the net and just like that the Sabres tied the game at three. A few minutes later, the Sabres took the lead on what would be a game winning goal from Jason Pominville.
Patrick Lalime’s performance was what won the game for Buffalo. He stopped all 27 shots after replacing Miller, leading his team to a comeback victory. The last time the Sabres came back from a three goal deficit to win a game was on January 16th, 2009, when the Buffalo beat Dallas 5-4.
Buffalo was outshot 38-24, but were able to edge out the Penguins for a huge win. Drew Stafford was the player of the night for Buffalo, earning three points and a plus two for the game. Gaustad and Pominville finished off the Penguins with two third period goals.