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game recap

Sabres blanked by Penguins with coach out, extend record skid to 16

Longest in shootout era; Crosby reaches 1,300 points, Zohorna scores in NHL debut for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

Zohorna buries 1st NHL goal

BUF@PIT: Zohorna fires a one-timer for 1st NHL goal

Radim Zohorna gets a feed from below the goal line and rips a one-timer that finds twine, earning his 1st career NHL goal and opening scoring

  • 00:32 •

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby had three assists to reach 1,300 NHL points, and the Pittsburgh Penguins handed the Buffalo Sabres their 16th straight loss, 4-0 at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

Crosby is the 36th player in NHL history to reach the mark. He joined Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton (1,521 points) and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (1,305) as the only active players to do it.

"It's a nice number," Crosby said. "It's a sign I've been playing for a pretty long time too. It's also nice to get those milestones."

Casey DeSmith made 36 saves for his second shutout in four starts, and Jared McCann scored twice for the Penguins (21-11-2), who won a second straight game against the Sabres after losing three of their previous four overall. Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 5-2 here Wednesday.

The Penguins are 14-3-1 at home this season, the most home wins in the NHL.

"We're doing a lot of little things right, like blocking shots," DeSmith said. "That's the way we've got to win games right now."

Video: BUF@PIT: DeSmith records shutout against Sabres

The Sabres (6-22-4) played without coach Don Granato and assistant Matt Ellis, who were unavailable due to NHL COVID-19 protocol. General manager Kevyn Adams filled in for Granato.

"It's terrible to lose in any way," Adams said. "Suite level, press box, ice level. Player, coach. It doesn't matter. It's tough. It wears on you. You want better. What I said to the guys after the game is we're all in it. We're in it together."

Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves for Buffalo, which is 0-14-2 since Feb. 25 and extended the NHL shootout-era record for most consecutive losses. The shootout was implemented in the 2005-06 season, eliminating ties.

Buffalo's stretch without a win is the longest in the NHL since Pittsburgh lost 18 in a row from Jan. 13-Feb. 22, 2004.

"In a season of unfortunate and terrible events, we're just ready for it," Sabres forward Taylor Hall said. "We had a lot of good stuff going on. What we're going through, it's got to be the toughest stretch for anyone on our team, that they've ever gone through. It's hard."

Radim Zohorna, making his NHL debut, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 17:21 of the first period on his first shot. Anthony Angello made a backhand pass to the left face-off circle, setting up Zohorna for a one-timer to the glove side.

McCann scored with a wrist shot from the slot on the power play to make it 2-0 at 1:27 of the second period, then extended the lead to 3-0 with another wrist shot on the power play at 8:56 of the third.

"Jared can score goals. We've said that for a while now," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He can really shoot the puck. He's got a really deceptive release and he shoots it hard. I think with this particular time with the injuries that we have, we're relying on him to help us offensively. We think that's a strength he has."

Video: BUF@PIT: McCann fires home a shot on the power play

Jake Guentzel scored into an empty net with 1:06 remaining for the 4-0 final.

Buffalo had a goal by Victor Olofsson overturned at 14:03 of the third when Pittsburgh challenged for offside.

"You just try to find a way to go out and play as hard as we can," Sabres center Dylan Cozens said. "Give ourselves the best chance to win. We've faced a lot of adversity this season. Nothing new to us now."

NOTES: Crosby is the eighth-fastest to reach 1,300 NHL points, doing so in 1,017 games. Wayne Gretzky (539 games), Mario Lemieux (633), Marcel Dionne (946), Phil Esposito (966), Steve Yzerman (982), Jaromir Jagr (1,014) and Bryan Trottier (1,104) did it faster. … Zohorna is the first Penguins player to score in his NHL debut since Guentzel scored two goals in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Nov. 21, 2016. … Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen did not play after sustaining a lower-body injury Wednesday. He is week to week. ... Tokarski started for a second straight day. He made 37 saves Wednesday in his first NHL start since Dec. 21, 2015. … The Sabres were 0-for-4 on the power play. … The Winnipeg Jets hold the NHL record for most consecutive games without a win; they played 30 straight without a victory (0-23 with seven ties) from Oct. 19-Dec. 20, 1980.

Video: DeSmith blanks the Sabres in a 4-0 victory

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