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At the Horn: Sabres 5 - Penguins 2

Eichel scores twice as Sabres win for 4th time in 5 games

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Zemgus Girgensons opened the scoring 14 seconds into the contest and the Buffalo Sabres never looked back in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday. 

Sam Reinhart added to the lead in the first period, Jack Eichel scored a pair of goals on the power play, and Jeff Skinner put an end to his 22-game scoring drought with a goal in the third. Carter Hutton made 41 saves.

Evgeni Malkin both goals for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry stopped 21 of 26 shots. 


What happened 

The trio of Girgensons, Johan Larsson, and Kyle Okposo got the start and promptly put the Sabres on the board. Larsson retrieved a loose puck in the corner and tossed it behind the Pittsburgh net to Okposo, who found Girgensons cutting into the slot. 

Video: BUF@PIT: Girgensons scores 14 seconds into the game

Reinhart stole the puck from Kris Letang at the Pittsburgh blue line and beat Jarry to make it 2-0 at the 6:48 mark. Eichel added his first power-play goal at 10:51. 

Malkin put the Penguins on the board in the second, but the Sabres continued to capitalize on offensive opportunities in the third. Skinner cut across the net and deflected a Marcus Johansson shot to add cushion at the 5:39 mark and Eichel added a second power-play goal to make it 5-1. Malkin's second goal, scored with 2:03 remaining, was too little, too late. 

Hutton was on his game throughout, turning in a strong rebound performance after allowing six goals in Ottawa on Tuesday. He held the Penguins to two goals on a night they generated 36 scoring chances (according to Natural Stat Trick) and was crucial to Buffalo's 2-for-2 night on the penalty kill. 


What it means

The Sabres rebounded from their disappointing result in Ottawa and have now won four of their last five games. They are eight points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs, who host Carolina tonight. 

They benefitted once again from scoring throughout the lineup. Girgensons' goal was his 12th in 61 games this season, putting him on pace to surpass the career-high 15 he scored in 2014-15. Skinner, meanwhile, will hope his goal opens the floodgates for one of his trademark hot streaks. 

Buffalo has now won three straight games in Pittsburgh dating back to last season, the team's first such streak since winning four in a row from Jan. 5, 1980 to Feb. 21, 1981. 


Roll the Highlight Film 

Watch Eichel do his thing from the left faceoff circle - twice. 

Video: BUF@PIT: Eichel buries short-side wrist shot for PPG

Video: BUF@PIT: Eichel wires wrister through traffic for PPG


Up next

The Sabres return home to host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Coverage on MSG begins at 2:30 p.m. or you can listen to the game on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 3. 

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