The Sabres controlled the play in the first period. They outshot the Penguins 14-7 in the opening period. Casey DeSmith made a few nice saves to keep his club in the game, including post to post save on C.J. Smith.
Ristolainen was perhaps the best Sabres player to start the game with a few scoring chances and laying a huge hit on Penguins forward Daniel Sprong.
Buffalo picked up a two man advantage at the end of the period and scored their first goal of the game. It looked like Jeff Skinner was the last to touch a bouncing puck that went in the net off a Penguins defender. However, Vladimir Sobotka was credited with the goal that gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Sabres kept up the pressure in the middle frame. Evan Rodrigues circled around the offensive zone and put a shot on net. Jake McCabe was there to clean up the rebound and increase the lead to 2-0.
Near the end of the period Jack Eichel decided to flash his skills. Lawrence Pilut flipped a puck into the neutral zone with the team shorthanded. Eichel used his speed to chase down the puck and score with a nice move on a breakaway to make it 3-0 after two.
In the third period the Sabres took their foot off the gas and allowed the Penguins to get back into it. Will O’Neill let a point shot go through traffic to get the Penguins their first goal of the game.
Then just a few minutes last Juuso Riikola let a similar shot go through traffic to get his club within one goal with 3:34 left.
Thankfully a nice save on a re-direction in the final minutes by Scott Wedgewood kept the Sabres in front and they would hold on for a 3-2 victory.
They’re back in action Friday when they kick off a home and home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center.
Final Score: Sabres 3 | Penguins 2
Shots on Goal: Sabres 29 | Penguins 26
Sabres Goals: Sobotka (1), McCabe (1) and Eichel (1)
Penguins Goals: O’Neill (1) and Riikola (1)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Vladimir Sobotka (1 G, 1 A)
2. Lawrence Pilut (1 A)
3. Carter Hutton (14 saves on 14 shots)