The Sabers are the last victim of the Penguins | News, Sports, Jobs
By Jonah Bronstein
The Associated Press
BUFFALO, NY – Tage Thompson scored two goals in regulation and scored in the shootout, Alex Tuch also scored a goal in the shootout, and the Buffalo Sabers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory .
Zemgus Girgensons also scored in regulation time for the Sabers, who have won five of six in their best streak of the season.
“Guys are not comfortable with one or two games” said Girgenson. “It was a fun game to play against a good team. Kind of a playoff type game. It was back and forth.”
The Sabers have won three in a row for the first time since the start of the season 3-0-0. They didn’t fall behind at any point in those three wins and responded every time the Penguins rallied to tie.
“We definitely deserved a win there” said Thompson. “Earlier in the season we would probably be in similar situations and maybe fold or let the situation spiral out of control. I think we’ve done a good job recently sticking to the game plan no matter what happens with the score.
Thompson scored his team-leading 27th goal to give the Sabers a 3-2 lead after a minute in the third period, catching a pass from Tuch in front of the right circle.
Craig Anderson made 23 saves and stopped both shots he faced in the shootout for his sixth win in eight starts.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who have won three in a row. Kris Letang scored Pittsburgh’s other goal, Bryan Rust had two assists and Casey DeSmith stopped 29 shots. Playing on the second straight night, Pittsburgh opened a two-game road trip by lowering its league-best road record to 21-7-5.
“It was a hard-fought point, but I don’t think we gave our best,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It was just one of those nights where it was a struggle.”
Letang tied the Penguins on the power play with 4:56 left in the third. Accurate passes from Crosby and Malkin put Letang at the top of the right circle for his seventh goal.
“We fought hard in the third to get this point,” said Letang. “It was important to have him. Especially with the race we’re in at the moment for home ice, and at the top, it’s quite close.
The Penguins got tying goals from Crosby and Malkin to open and close second. Crosby scored his 23rd power play goal 26 seconds into the game. Malkin scored his 13th goal with 1:14 to go when his backhand pass to the side of the net hit Anderson’s stick and the Sabers defenseman’s leg Henri Jokiharju before bouncing back.
Girgensons gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead with 4:04 left in the second, converting ahead on a Kyle Okposo thread. It was the eighth of the season for Girgensons and his first in four games since missing seven weeks with an undisclosed injury.
Thompson’s first goal was set up by a pass from Mattias Samuelsson behind the net with 2:45 left in the first.
All three games of the season series ended in overtime, with the Sabers winning 2-1 in Pittsburgh on November 16 and the Penguins winning 3-2 at home on December 17.
The surging Sabers have proven harder to beat lately, Sullivan said.
“They have a lot of young talent and they play with a free spirit” he said. “These types of teams, they’re tough to play against at this time of year.”
Lots of wins
Anderson was recognized at a pre-game ceremony for becoming the NHL’s 39th goaltender with 300 wins. Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams presented a gold stick and commemorative jersey to the 19-year-old veteran who won games for six franchises.
Hayley Scamurra, a member of the United States women’s national team, was shown on the video scoreboard wearing her silver medal from the Beijing Olympics last month during a first-half stoppage. Scamurra, a native of Western New York, plays for the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL.
Penguins: Complete the trip to the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Sabers: Host the Washington Capitals on Friday night.