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Pens vs. Sabres Recap: Don't call it a comeback. Pittsburgh rallies, wins.

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After going in a 0-3 hole and playing a dreadful 1st period, the Penguins wake up and starting digging out of the hole, scoring 4 straight goals to win 4-3 in regulation against the Buffalo Sabres. Justin Schultz leads the way with 3 points and Marc-Andre Fleury enters the game in relief to stop all 27 shots he sees.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

For the first time in seemingly a long, long time the Penguins are able to use the same exact lineup and lines from the previous game.

1st period

The Sabres start out strong and score the game's first goal. Brian Dumoulin turns the puck over in a bad way and then Ryan O'Reilly makes a really nice finish to elevate the puck over Matt Murray. 1-0 Buffalo.

Mark Streit jumps in the zone and tips a pick aaaalmost over the line. It's ruled no goal, which is fair- ruled no goal on the ice and though it's very close there was no definitive view of the puck totally crossing the line.

That's a big turning point because instead of 1-1, the game quickly goes to 2-0 Buffalo when Carl Hagelin takes a penalty and Murray can't clear the puck. Brian Gionta taps it 5-hole home.

Make it 3-0, Jack Eichel finds a soft-spot in the coverage and sits down and gets a short pass. Doesn't need much more than that unleashing a great shot. Much like last game, not the finest moment for the Ian Cole - Chad Ruhwedel pair.

Hagelin takes another penalty late but the Pens scramble to kill it off and one of the worst periods of the season ends. Shots are 21-13 Buffalo. 21 shots against in 1 period!!!

Goals a 3-0 Sabres.

2nd period

Marc-Andre Fleury starts the period, hopefully to wake up the team.

The comeback begins with Justin Schultz burying his 11th goal of the year and finally piercing Nilsson's invincibility. Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin get the assists, nice to see the skill guys coming through.

Malkin and Schultz come through again a little later, this time of the power play. Schultz makes a perfect pass in Malkin's wheelhouse and Geno wires a puck past the glove of Nilsson. 3-2 Sabres.

The Pens keep pushing but Buffalo's saved by the buzzer. Shots 16-10 in the period in favor of the Pens. Malkin playing out of his mind.

3rd period

The Pens push but can't get the game-tying goal. A power play comes and goes and on the next shift Conor Sheary shoots from outside and Jake Guentzel tips it in the net. It's extremely questionable if this is a high stick or not and after a lengthy officials review the goal is confirmed. 3-3.

Pittsburgh keeps pouring it on, a great shift for the top line, topped off by a beautiful pass from Schultz that Sheary is able to steer into an open net for a go-ahead goal with less than 3 minutes to go. 4-3.

That'll be in, big time comeback for Pittsburgh.

Some Thoughts

  • Coming off a 2-minor penalty night on Friday, Tom Kuhnhackl takes his 3rd penalty of the weekend just a few minutes into the game. Was a bit of bad luck as he cleared the puck over and past the bench and all the glass but still...Never a good idea as a 4th liner trying to make your mark by etching out ruts to the penalty box.
  • Not too far behind, Carl "1 goal in the last 21 games" Hagelin takes two stick infractions in the first period. "But it's the little things he does to help the team" they said.
  • One thing all 3 first period goals had in common: they were the direct result of 5-10 foot passes changing the angle on Murray. The Penguins defense didn't make it easy on their goalie early.
  • On one hand, credit Anders Nilsson for a couple of big saves in the first. He denied Chris Kunitz and Jake Guentzel from point-blank. And somehow kept the Streit chance just out of the net before the defenseman could clear. All those chances happened with the game 1-0 and could have brought the Pens even. It didn't and then all of a sudden it was 3-0 Buffalo.
  • Malkin was "next level Malkin" in the 2nd. Doing everything he wanted with the puck. Single-handedly controlling play in the offensive zone It's a sight to see when he takes it up to that level.
  • Nice to see Sheary+Guentzel both on the ice for the last 2 goals. They haven't played much together yet but found some lightning in a bottle. They got to play with Sid after some line shuffles in the latter two periods and that line obviously has a lot of intrigue and possibilities.
  • Fleury did great in relief, stopping all 27 shots he saw from the second period on, including a great breakaway save on Evander Kane. The Pens also stepped up from that period on too.
  • No points for Sidney Crosby but with 9 shots on goal and a lot of chances created passing the puck, gotta like the process. It'll come in time for sure.
  • Justin Schultz 3 point game. What more can you say. Tremendous player.

The Pens celebrate yet another home win and then head on out for Western Canadian road trip.