Recap: Penguins Beat Sabres to Clinch Playoff Spot

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff berth tonight by winning a tight game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres did a good job hanging with the Penguins after playing the night before in Detroit. At the end of the night, though, the speed of the Penguins proved to be too much for the Sabres handle, especially without their top defenseman in Rasmus Ristolainen.

Only eight more games left in another disappointing season for the Sabres. After securing a playoff spot, the Penguins can now focus on the top seed in the conference and division over the final ten games of the regular season.

First Period

The first period was a pretty entertaining one between the Sabres and Penguins. Both teams exchanged chances throughout the period and each tallied 13 shots on goal. First big moment of the game came on a hit from Ristolainen on Jake Guentzel. Ristolainen was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Guentzel needed help getting off the ice and would not return to the game.

The Penguins didn’t capitalize on the major penalty but would get a power play goal late in the period. Sidney Crosby picked up the puck with just a few seconds remaining in the period and skated through the Sabres defense with ease to score his 41st of the season. It was a goal that you’ll see on the highlights for a few days for sure. Penguins headed to the first intermission with the 1-0 lead.

Second Period

The second period got off to a quick start like the first period. Robin Lehner was forced to make a few breakaway saves to keep his team within one. As the period went on the pace slowed down and the Penguins took over. They maintained possession for the majority of the second and had the better of the opportunities. Thanks to Lehner, the Sabres remained down one goal after 40 minutes and trailed in shots on goal 25-19.


Third Period

The Sabres would finally get on the board just over two minutes into the final period on Reinhart’s 17th of the season. Buffalo got some momentum and pushed for the go-ahead goal in the next few shifts, but were unable to beat Murray again.

The middle of the period hit a lull as the two teams didn’t want to make the mistake to give up the next goal. Off of a broken play, Nick Bonino found a loose puck and beat Lehner on a shot he never saw to put the Penguins back on top. A few minutes later the Penguins iced the game after Zemgus Girgensons scored on an own goal off of a rebound that Sheary would get credit for making the final score 3-1 in favor of the visitors.



Scoring Summary


PIT – Sidney Crosby PPG (41) assisted by Justin Schultz and Conor Sheary – 19:51




BUF – Sam Reinhart (17) assisted by Hudson Fasching and Marcus Foligno – 2:09

PIT – Nick Bonino (15) assisted by Ian Cole and Tom Kuhnhackl – 14:31

PIT – Conor Sheary (21) unassisted – 16:28

  THW Three Stars

First: Conor Sheary (1 G, 1 A)

Second: Nick Bonino (GWG)

Third: Sidney Crosby (1 G)


Next Up

Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres

Key Bank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST (Saturday, March 25)

Broadcast channels: MSG-B & CBC

2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 3 – Leafs 2, Sabres 1 | Jan. 17 – Leafs 4, Sabres 3 | Feb. 11 – Sabres 3, Leafs 1

Next Up

Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators

Canadian Tire Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST (Thursday, March 23)

Broadcast channel: NHLN-US, ROOT, TSN 5 & RDS 2

2016-17 Season Series: Dec 5. – Penguins 8, Senators 5 | Jan 12. – Senators 4, Penguins 1