A back-and-forth battle ended in Pittsburgh’s favor as the Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres by a 5-4 score at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.
Conor Sheary took a pass from Sidney Crosby and ended the game just 16 seconds into overtime. It was his second goal of the night.
The Sabres appeared to play one of their most inspiring games of hockey all season long. They never trailed until it was over, and although they’re already at the bottom of the standings, earning a point in Pittsburgh is difficult to do.
Jack Eichel didn’t record a Gordie Howe hat trick – a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game – but it was the closest he’s ever been to one throughout his career.
Once Ian Cole laid a heavy hit on Sam Reinhart in the opening period, Eichel was quick to drop the gloves and get involved. Although he may not have landed a punch or a fighting major, it was good to see Buffalo’s superstar step up.
Jack Eichel drops the gloves! #Sabres pic.twitter.com/dkLlEHClk4
— Jonah Javad (@JonahJavad) November 15, 2017
After head coach Phil Housley moved Reinhart up to the top line in place of Jason Pominville, there were immediate results. Reinhart recorded a three-point game with a goal and two assists, and appeared to have an extra jump in his step.
Eichel also looked more energized, scoring a goal and setting up Evander Kane with a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 rush. It was Kane’s 10th goal of the season, giving him the fastest start of his career.
The Sabres squandered a two-goal lead in the second period, but Benoit Pouliot put Buffalo back on top with a power play goal.
Phil Kessel’s goal late in the third knotted things up at four.
“We played scared to lose [in the third period], not to win. We have to do it for 60 minutes, we were letting them set up their breakout, they played the whole period in our zone.” – Eichel
The Penguins were threatening late in the third to take the lead, but Robin Lehner came up with some key stops, but it wouldn’t be enough in overtime.
Despite giving up five goals on 45 shots, Lehner played well. It was the defense in front of him that was the problem. At the other end, Matt Murray stopped 28 of 32 shots, earning the win.
The Sabres will have a couple days off before they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. That game is scheduled for a 7:30 puck drop.