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game recap

Sheary scores twice, Sabres defeat Penguins in season opener

First regulation win for Buffalo against Pittsburgh in more than six years

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Sheary nets second on power play

BUF@PIT: Sheary cleans up loose puck for second goal

Conor Sheary finds the loose puck in the slot and fires it into the twine on the power play to tally his second goal of the game

  • 00:56 •

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored two goals against his former team, helping the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the season opener for each team at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

"I think you just want to prove to people that you can still play," said Sheary, who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017 before being traded to the Sabres on June 27, 2018. "You kind of get the feeling that someone doesn't want you when they trade you. I think I took that to heart. So coming back here is always fun."

It was Buffalo's first regulation win against Pittsburgh in 19 games dating to April 23, 2013 (the Penguins were 15-0-3).

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Penguins highlights]

 

Carter Hutton made 28 saves for the Sabres in Ralph Krueger's debut as their coach.

"I'm just proud and pleased at the effort that we had in all areas today," Krueger said. "We began with a fury the first 10 minutes, dominating. For us to get the lead was good for our confidence, and the guys never left a foot off the gas. We stayed on our toes right through the finish line."

Video: BUF@PIT: Sheary scores opening goal from the circle

Evgeni Malkin scored, and Matt Murray made 38 saves for the Penguins, who were 8-0-1 in their previous nine games at home against the Sabres.

"We just weren't good enough," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's what I told our guys after the game. I know we're capable of being better. We just weren't good enough tonight in a lot of areas. I don't think you can just sit and point at any one area.

"I think it was a lot of areas of our game where we just didn't have an element of consistency. I don't think there was cooperative effort. It's hard to play this game in the absence of it."

Sheary gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 5:23 of the first period. After Casey Mittelstadt chipped a pass by Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Sheary shot past Murray's blocker from the right face-off circle.

Malkin tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 5:50 of the second, scoring with a snap shot past a screen from Patric Hornqivst. He has at least one point in 10 straight games against Buffalo (four goals, 10 assists).

Video: BUF@PIT: Malkin wires home wrister for PPG

"We need to play faster. We need to play hungry," Malkin said. "It's not good for us, how we played tonight. We need to change. ... The season started already. We need to understand that. It's not like we have 20 games to wake up. No, it already started. Every point is important."

Sheary, who has six points (four goals, two assists) in four games against the Penguins, scored on the power play to put the Sabres ahead 2-1 at 14:03 of the second. Colin Miller shot off Murray's pad, and Mittelstadt tapped the rebound to Sheary.

Rasmus Dahlin made it 3-1 on a wrist shot over Murray's glove at the end of a rush with 44 seconds remaining in the second.

Video: BUF@PIT: Dahlin flips puck over Murray's glove

 

They said it

"We played together a lot last year and hang out quite a bit away [from the ice]. So it seems like it works well. Obviously, it was nice to get a few tonight." -- Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt on his chemistry with Conor Sheary

"I think we need to work as a unit a little bit better. I think it seems like we're in between a little bit in certain areas. But I still think it comes down to competing and all those little details. They were better than us." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

 

Need to know

Forward Jimmy Vesey had two shots on goal in 12:39 in his Sabres debut after being acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers on July 1. ... Hutton is 4-0-0 in six games against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. ... Buffalo turned over the puck six times and forced Pittsburgh into 17 giveaways. ... Crosby played 21:01 after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the first period of Pittsburgh's final preseason game Saturday, when he took a shot off the foot from Buffalo defenseman Marco Scandella. He had an assist on Malkin's goal for his 1,217th point, tying Larry Murphy for 42nd in NHL history. ... Forward Alex Galchenyuk had one shot on goal in 15:22 in his Penguins debut after being acquired in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on June 29. He was a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. ... The Penguins were 1-for-5 on the power play, including 0-for-3 in the third period.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-PT, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Sheary scores two as Sabres defeat Pens for first win

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