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Penguins reach 40 wins with rout of Sabres
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored dazzling goals in the second period as the Pittsburgh Penguins reached 40 wins faster than any team in franchise history with a 5-1 beatdown of the lowly Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
James Neal, Brian Gibbons and Harry Zolnierczyk had the other goals for Pittsburgh, which registered win No. 40 in its 57th game. The previous low was 65 games in 1995-96.
"We took a little bit of time to get going, but once we did, I felt like we did grab a lot of momentum there," Crosby said.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves to earn his league-best 31st win of the season.
Ryan Miller surrendered five goals on 34 shots in the Sabres' third straight loss.
"That had nothing to do with Ryan tonight," Sabres head coach Ted Nolan said. "It was the guys in front of him."
Crosby snapped a five-game goal drought and broke a 1-1 tie on an early second-period power play. He skated through two players in the Buffalo zone and beat Miller top shelf at the 2:08 mark.
Malkin made it 3-1 on a breakaway with 2:12 left in the middle frame. He chipped the puck ahead in the neutral zone, powered his way past Buffalo defenseman Jamie McBain, deking and beat Miller on the forehand.
Gibbons scored on a wrister after a clean faceoff win by Brandon Sutter at 5:22 of the third period. Neal lit the lamp with 7:48 remaining.
Buffalo opened the scoring for only the 18th time this season. Fleury stopped a wraparound bid by Tyler Ennis, but Drew Stafford put the loose puck home 5:58 into the contest.
Zolnierczyk knotted the score off a feed from Craig Adams with 4:59 to go in the first period.
Crosby now has a 17-game point streak against the Sabres and has at least one point in all 14 of his career visits to Buffalo ... The Sabres suffered their eighth straight home loss ... Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang (illness) missed a fourth consecutive game ... Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers sat out with a lower-body injury.
02/06 02:16:58 ET