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Pens rally past Buffalo for third straight win
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Paul Martin scored the tie-breaking goal with 2:04 left to play as the Pittsburgh Penguins continued their recent success by rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
Pascal Dupuis netted a pair of goals, including the game-tying tally earlier in the third period, while assisting on Martin's clincher, and Sidney Crosby registered a goal and two assists to help the Penguins improve to 8-2-0 on the road this season and post their third consecutive win overall.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 30 saves in Pittsburgh's triumph.
Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which overcame a horrific start to the contest to take a 3-2 edge on Steve Ott's marker 5:17 into the final period. Christian Ehrhoff delivered a pair of assists in the setback, the Sabres' third in four games, with Ryan Miller stopping 31 shots on the afternoon.
Ott's score capped a sequence of three consecutive Buffalo goals that enabled the Sabres to battle back from an almost-instant 2-0 deficit, but the team's first lead of the game wouldn't last long.
Less than two minutes later, Dupuis rocketed a one-timer from the right circle off a cross-ice feed from Kris Letang to knot the score at 3-3 at the 7:06 mark of the third period.
"Awesome pass there by Tanger, all the way across on the backhand," said Dupuis of the goal. "I don't know how he could do that flat on my blade. It was an awesome play."
Fleury came up with a couple of clutch saves on Ott to help the Penguins thwart a Buffalo power play later on, and Martin sent Pittsburgh in front for good when the defenseman blasted a rolling puck into the upper right corner of the net with a shade over two minutes to go.
"I came in off the bench for a change and I think (Crosby) was trying to pass (the puck)," Martin said. "It kind of found its way toward me. I just put it to the net and it went in."
Pittsburgh came out flying to begin the contest, scoring on its first two shots on net to take a 2-0 lead just 1:27 after the opening draw.
Dupuis re-directed Brooks Orpik's long drive from the left boards past Miller a mere 35 seconds in, and the Sabres' Tyler Myers was sent off for a high stick on Evgeni Malkin only 33 seconds later to allow Pittsburgh's potent power-play unit to hit the ice.
Shortly following the ensuing faceoff, Malkin fired a slap shot right of the net that caromed straight to Crosby, who promptly slipped the puck into an opening to quickly put Buffalo in a two-goal hole.
The Sabres were able to kill off another early penalty, however, and began their comeback when Cody Hodgson beat Fleury glove-side after collecting the rebound of Ehrhoff's blast with 6:32 elapsed in the first period.
Buffalo capitalized on a 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the second to pull even on Vanek's league-leading 12th goal of the season, a deflection of an Ehrhoff attempt from the right point.
The goal, which snapped a stretch of 16 straight failed power plays for the Sabres, was set up by Crosby being whistled for a cross-checking infraction and Tanner Glass called for delay of game after inadvertently sending the puck into the crowd on the resulting faceoff.
Buffalo proceeded to dominate the early action in the third period, peppering Fleury with a barrage of shots and moving ahead when Ott whipped a wrister by the Pittsburgh netminder after grabbing a loose puck caused by teammate Nathan Gerbe having his chance blocked near the front of the crease.
"I liked the determination of the guys to battle back and continue to push, but at the end of it all we'd be a lot happier right now with the two points that we deserve to be walking out with," said Ott.
Dupuis' multi-goal effort was his first since scoring twice against Toronto on March 7 of last season ... The Penguins recorded a power-play goal for an eighth consecutive game and have gone 35.5 percent (11-for-31) with the man advantage over that span ... Crosby has notched at least one point in 14 straight meetings with the Sabres, in which Pittsburgh has accumulated an 11-3-0 record ... Vanek's score was the Sabres' first power-play goal against Pittsburgh since Tyler Ennis had one on Dec. 11, 2010, with Buffalo having gone scoreless in such situations over the last six games of the series ... Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera was scratched after suffering a severe charley horse during Friday's win over Boston.
02/17 17:25:35 ET