NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Pittsburgh
(Monday, February 1st)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 4
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Sidney Crosby collected his third hat trick of the season to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena.
Crosby tied San Jose's Patrick Marleau for the league-lead in goals with 37, while increasing his point total to 71 -- good for third in the NHL. The feat was his fifth career hat trick.
Jordan Staal got his 14th goal of the season, while rookie center Mark Letestu netted his first NHL goal and point for the Penguins, winners in four of their last five games.
Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 30 saves for the win. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each had two assists.
Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Tim Kennedy dented the scoreboard for Buffalo, which had won two in a row following an 0-3-1 winless stretch.
Ryan Miller was charged with five goals on just 18 shots through two periods and ended with 26 saves.
With the Penguins down 3-1, Crosby's power-play marker from the low in the right circle near the game's midway point got Pittsburgh back within one, and Staal's one-timer off a Malkin leave between the circles brought the hosts all the way back with 5:54 left in the frame.
"I think we played a really solid game tonight, just we played bad for about 10, 12 minutes there in the second and that's where it came back to cost us the game," said Kennedy.
Crosby then scored 1:25 apart before the close of the period as the Pens surged to a 5-3 lead. First, with Miller out of position, Crosby swarmed on a loose puck off the left post and fired past the prone goaltender.
Then with 1:05 remaining, Crosby skated down the right wing on a 2-on-1, kept it himself and beat Miller to the blocker side as the hats rained down from above.
"All the goals were great plays by a lot of different guys and was fortunate enough to bury it. I thought collectively in the second and third we really raised our level of play and created a lot of good opportunities," said Crosby.
Pittsburgh's Sergei Gonchar took a tripping penalty with 3:46 left to play and Pominville scored inside a minute later to make it a one-goal game. The Pens continued to leave the door open as Brooks Orpik was whistled for holding just outside two minutes to go.
The Sabres assaulted Fleury with a barrage of shots on the advantage but couldn't find the equalizer.
Letestu's goal came just 47 seconds into the contest to stake the hosts to an early lead. Buffalo netted the next two in short order, though, as Roy's power-play goal evened the score and Vanek found the back of the net less than a minute later at 6:03 of the first.
Kennedy made it a 3-1 game 7:32 into the second, finishing off a 3-on-2 rush by deflecting a Mike Grier centering pass into the net.
Buffalo has lost six of its last seven road contests, posting a 1-4-2 record in those games...The Pens ended a three-game homestand at 2-1-0 and will play their next two games in Montreal and Washington...Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead in the season series and has taken eight of the last 11 matchups overall...Vanek and Roy each added an assist for Buffalo.
02/02 00:48:32 ET