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game recap

Penguins top Sabres 2-1 in shootout

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Penguins top Sabres 2-1 in shootout
Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Buffalo Sabres 1

Sidney Crosby was finally stopped in a shootout. Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury made sure the Pittsburgh Penguins remained perfect in the breakaway competitions anyway.

Fleury made 31 saves through 65 minutes and three more in the shootout, and Letang scored the only goal in the tiebreaker to give the Penguins a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Letang scored on Pittsburgh's first shootout try. Crosby, who came in 5-for-5 in shootout attempts this season, was denied in the second round when Patrick Lalime made a pad save. But that didn't matter when Fleury stopped Drew Stafford in the third round to end the game and give the Penguins a 6-0 record in shootouts this season.

"He's tough to beat in practice, and it shows in the games," Crosby said of Fleury, who improved to 10-1-1 since Nov. 21 and is 18-for-19 in shootouts. "He doesn't like the puck going in, period. He makes it tough on teams, and tonight he bailed us out a number of times."

Pittsburgh also killed five penalties over the final 25 minutes to win for the second straight time in a shootout. The Penguins beat Philadelphia on Thursday night when Letang and Crosby converted.

"If you do a shootout against Marc-Andre in practice, he has kind of a swagger," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's been outstanding facing some good shooters...and our guys, Letang and Crosby, have been outstanding."

Chris Kunitz scored in regulation for the Penguins (25-10-1), winners of five straight and 11 of their last 14.

"It was a tough battle," Fleury said. "They didn't give us much. They play hard and are a tough team."

Jason Pominville scored for the first time in eight games and Lalime, making just his fourth start of the season in favor of Ryan Miller, finished with 23 saves for the Sabres (21-10-3), who've lost two of their last three.

"It was a hard-fought game against a real good team," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "I liked our game, and I liked the way we competed."

The Sabres, playing without high-scoring left wing Thomas Vanek, who missed the game because of soreness in his midsection, opened the scoring when Pominville beat Fleury 15:05 into the game. After Fleury stopped Clarke MacArthur's shot from the right circle, Pominville knocked the rebound into an open net from the inner edge of the left circle.

Kunitz tied it with his fourth with 39 seconds remaining in the opening period, deflecting Crosby's wrist shot from the left circle.

"They're one of the top teams and we stuck right with them," MacArthur said. "I think we deserved to win that game."

Material from wire services was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
15:05
BUF
Jason Pominville (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Clarke MacArthur (7), Toni Lydman (4)
1 - 0 BUF
19:21
PIT
Chris Kunitz (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (21)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
NONE
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDBUFPITTOTAL
1J. Pominville
K. Letang
0 - 1
2D. Roy
S. Crosby
0 - 1
3D. Stafford
0 - 1
penalty summary
1st Period
02:17
BUF
Patrick Kaleta  Interference on goalkeeper against  Marc-Andre Fleury
07:37
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Interference against  Jason Pominville
08:32
PIT
Kris Letang  Hooking against  Clarke MacArthur
2nd Period
04:38
BUF
Craig Rivet  Tripping against  Evgeni Malkin
08:50
PIT
Jay McKee  Roughing against  Patrick Kaleta
14:09
BUF
Tim Kennedy  Tripping against  Mike Rupp
3rd Period
01:49
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Tripping against  Andrej Sekera
03:52
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Interference against  Drew Stafford
06:44
BUF
Jochen Hecht  Holding against  Mike Rupp
10:14
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Holding against  Andrej Sekera
15:21
BUF
Clarke MacArthur  Hi-sticking against  Matt Cooke
17:54
PIT
Matt Cooke  Interference against  Tim Connolly
OT Period
01:43
PIT
Alex Goligoski  Hi-sticking against  Drew Stafford
goalie stats
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 32TOI: 64:49
Saves: 31EV: 20 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 10
SV%: .969SH: 1 - 1
Patrick Lalime
SA: 24TOI: 64:51
Saves: 23EV: 15 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .958SH: 1 - 1