Sunday, February 17, 2013 4:02 pm
Martin lifts Penguins to 4-3 win over Sabres
By JOHN WAWROWAP Sports Writer
Pascal Dupuis had two goals and an assist and Sidney Crosby also scored and had two assists, including a pass that set up Martin's goal. Pittsburgh (11-5-0) won its third straight and improved to 8-2 in its past 10 to move ahead of idle New Jersey atop the Eastern Conference standings.
The Penguins were forced to rally from behind after squandering a 2-0 lead. Dupuis tied the game at 3 by one-timing in Kris Letang's cross-ice feed with 5:17 left. Martin then scored his second of the season when his 40-footer deflected in off the stick of Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in front.
Crosby set up the goal by digging the puck out of the left corner and feeding a pass to Martin.
Thomas Vanek had a goal and assist, while Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also scored for Buffalo, which failed to build off a 4-2 win over Boston on Friday.
Ott capped a three-goal rally to put Buffalo ahead 3-2 by one-timing in a shot from the left circle 5:17 into the third period.
The Sabres (6-9-1) failed to secure the win in dropping to 4-9-1 in their last 14. Buffalo has yet to win two in a row at home, and dropped to 2-9-0 in its past 11 against Pittsburgh.
It took less than 90 seconds for the Penguins to build a 2-0 lead on their first two shots on goal, while also extending numerous streaks.
Dupuis opened the scoring deflecting in Brooks Orpik's point shot 35 seconds in. Pittsburgh has now scored the opening goal in all 10 road games this season.
Crosby then extended the Penguins streak of games with a power-play goal to eight, by scoring 33 seconds later. Standing to the right of the net, Crosby swept in the puck, which had caromed directly to him off the end boards after Evgeni Malkin's initial shot sailed wide.
For Crosby, he extended his points streak against Buffalo to 14 games during which he has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists).
The Sabres responded with two goals. After Hodgson scored to convert a rebound in front in the first period, Vanek tied it midway through the second during a two-man advantage with Crosby (cross-checking) and Tanner Glass (face-off violation) in the penalty box.
Tyler Ennis set up Ehrhoff at the top of the right circle, where he sneaked a shot through a crowd with the puck deflecting in off Vanek's skate in front.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 31 saves, including stopping 31 of the final 33 shots he faced after allowing the Penguins to score on their first two shots. Miller's biggest stop came with 3:08 left in the third period, when he got across to his left to snag James Neal's one-time from the right circle.
NOTES: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma elected to play 6-foot-4, 215-pound D Robert Bortuzzo to add size to his lineup against the physical Sabres. Replacing D Simon Despres, Bortuzzo played his eighth game of the season after sitting out two. ... Sabres rookie C Mikhail Grigorenko was a healthy scratch for only the second time this season, and second time in four games. The Russian-born player also had family attending the game. ... Sabres coach Lindy Ruff turned 53 on Sunday. At 571-451-162 in 15 seasons in Buffalo, he's the franchise's winningest coach and is the longest tenured with the same team among active NHL coaches. ... Crosby has a point in 20 of 22 career games against Buffalo.