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Sabres earn rare win in Pittsburgh

Oct 16, 2011 - 3:40 AM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Nathan Gerbe scored and set up Drew Stafford's decisive goal in the third period, helping the Sabres hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Penguins.

Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves for Buffalo, which rebounded from Friday's home loss against Carolina. Enroth stopped 13 shots in the third period and held steady in a pressure-packed final few minutes.

James Neal and Jordan Staal had the goals for Pittsburgh, which swept the four-game series against Buffalo last season. The Penguins hadn't lost to the Sabres at home since December 8, 2008, when they were still playing at Mellon Arena.

Marc-Andre Fleury gave up three goals on 28 shots in the loss, and was beaten by Stafford 8:06 into the third period at the end of a Sabres rush.

Gerbe held the puck skating through the right side of the Pittsburgh zone and dropped a pass for Stafford in the right circle. Stafford fired a wrister to the far side that bounced off the post and in, making it a 3-1 game.

It was a crucial score. With 4:51 to play, Staal used a backhand shot to put a rebound over a sprawled Enroth, pulling the Penguins within one and putting the Sabres in the position to defend the slim lead.

Pittsburgh emptied its net with more than a minute left and applied pressure, but Enroth held on to secure the victory in his first start of the season.

"For 40 minutes we were probably the better club, but for the first 20 we weren't and it cost us the hockey game," said Penguins forward Steve Sullivan.

The Sabres jumped out to the lead with two goals in the first period. At the 9:24 mark, Gerbe took advantage of a loose rebound and an out-of-position Fleury to net a backhander from the slot.

Nearly five minutes later, Luke Adam got behind the Penguins defense and was open in the slot. Thomas Vanek controlled the puck on the left side of the ice and slid a perfect pass to Adam for a one-timer.

"I knew he was passing to me as soon as he got [the puck], so I was just trying to get ready for the shot," Adam said.

But a chance play put the Penguins on the scoreboard shortly into the second period. Neal's shot from the left boards likely would have sailed past the net, but Buffalo defenseman Robyn Regehr redirected the puck with the back of his stickblade, sending it by Enroth.

Game Notes

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin did not play because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee...Stafford's goal was the 200th point of his career.