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game recap

Anders Nilsson lifts Sabres past Penguins

Goalie makes 46 saves, stops three shootout attempts

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO - Anders Nilsson made 46 saves, and Cal O'Reilly scored in the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

Nilsson stopped Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang in the shootout to help the Sabres (6-8-4) end a six-game losing streak.

"We really needed two points today," Nilsson said. "We wanted to end this losing streak and we were fortunate to be able to do that tonight."

Starting in place of Robin Lehner, Nilsson made 18 saves in the first period.

"He had a couple of really big saves, but I thought he was at his best really being solid in net, real calm, and didn't seem to get flustered when the puck was lying in the blue paint," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "You may need a performance like that to get a win against Pittsburgh and he gave it to us."


WATCH: All Penguins vs. Sabres highlihts


O'Reilly, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Saturday, beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot to the high corner. He's 6-for-13 in NHL shootouts.

"Cal has experience against Marc-Andre in a shootout and Cal's good in a shootout," Bylsma said. "One of his go-to moves is that one. I don't know how he scored against Marc-Andre in 2010 (as a member of the Nashville Predators), but ... you want to put people in the right spots to have success. And regardless of whether Cal's a call-up or not, I think that was the right time for Cal, and he came through."

The Penguins (11-4-3) have lost two of the past three and three of five.

Captain Sidney Crosby made it 1-1 with a power-play goal 5:46 into the third period. Crosby received a pass from Chris Kunitz across the crease and shot the puck past Nilsson for his 12th goal of the season. He is tied for the NHL lead with Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets.

It was the first goal Crosby scored against the Sabres since Feb. 5, 2014. He has 15 goals and 35 assists in 32 games against Buffalo.

"It's just one of those games where you leave feeling like you deserve better," Crosby said. "Ultimately we have to find a way to bury a few chances, but I thought we created a number of them, especially in the third."

William Carrier's first NHL goal, in his eighth game, gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 8:16 into the first period.

"It's great for him, he deserved it," O'Reilly said. "He's playing great up here and I knew when he came up his work ethic and tenacity how he plays the game, they love him and he's doing great. It's great to see him get rewarded."


Goal of the game

Carrier deflected a shot from the point by defenseman Taylor Fedun past Fleury.

Video: PIT@BUF: Carrier scores first NHL goal on deflection


Save of the game

With 2:53 left in overtime, Nilsson made a left-pad save against Letang, who broke in after a pass from Crosby.


Highlight of the game

Crosby's goal was his 350th in the NHL.

Video: PIT@BUF: Crosby buries PPG for 350th career goal


Unsung moment of the game

Sabres defensemen Josh Gorges and Rasmus Ristolainen had a 4:00 shift and center Johan Larsson had a 3:16 shift that began with 8:00 left in the second period; the Penguins trapped the Sabres in their end for 2:13. Larsson broke his stick during the shift but the Sabres kept the Penguins away from the net and held them to one shot on goal.


They said it

"We're grabbing points here along the way, we're winning some games. We would have liked to come out with two points tonight. It didn't happen, but certainly I thought our team played the game the right way." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


"That's really kind of how we want to play the game. We want to be comfortable in a tight game. We wanted to play a tight game and we wanted to be comfortable playing a tight game. We had the lead for a good portion of the game until they scored their power-play goal, but even after that, that's what we wanted the game to be, and I thought our guys did a great job of battling within that framework." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma


Need to know

The Sabres hadn't defeated the Penguins since April 23, 2013. … Nilsson is 2-0-1 in his past three starts with a .976 save percentage. … Linesman Greg Devorski was honored for working his 1,500th NHL game.

What's next

Penguins: Host the New York Rangers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, MSG, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the Calgary Flames on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, SNW, NHL.TV)


Video: O'Reilly, Nillson lead Sabres to shootout win

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