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SABRES SURVIVE FURIOUS PENGUINS COMEBACK FOR 4-3 TRIUMPH

Saturday, 12.17.2005 / 12:00 AM / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins
BUFFALO – Buffalo withstood a furious Pittsburgh third-period rally as the Sabres held on for a 4-3 win Saturday night.

The Sabres took charge early as they scored two goals on their first eight shots.

Seconds after a Pittsburgh penalty expired, Adam Mair ripped a one-timer past goaltender Jocelyn Thibault 3:32 into the game.

Maxim Afinogenov scored at 6:46. On a 2-on-1, Afinogenov kept the puck and wristed it past Thibault for a 2-0 lead.

Sidney Crosby brought the HSBC Arena crowd to its feet with a highlight-reel goal. Skating down the left wing, he got around Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee with a nice move as he flipped the puck from his backhand to his forehand and ripped the puck past Martin Biron’s glove at 10:50. Ryan Malone and Josef Melichar earned the assists.

Buffalo (22-10-1) responded with a power-play goal on a 5-on-3. Jason Pominville ripped a one-timer past Thibault with 1:45 left in the period.

The Sabres went up, 4-1, when Chris Drury banked the puck into the net off Melichar’s skate on the power play 15:34 into the second period.

Michele Ouellet scored his second NHL goal in as many nights 24 seconds into the third period. He backhanded a loose puck into the Buffalo goal. Tomas Surovy and Sergei Gonchar earned assists.

Nearly two minutes later, Erik Christensen ripped a shot off the crossbar. He and Ouellet skated in on a 2-on-1 and Christensen fired the puck on net. Ouellet believed the puck went in and raised his arms, but the goal light did not come on and it was ruled not a goal.

Surovy sliced the Penguins’ deficit to 4-3 with 10:17 remaining. He ripped a shot past Biron. Whitney and Ouellet had assists.

Surovy had a chance to tie the game at 4-all with 28 seconds to play. Standing on the far post, he ripped Whitney’s pass at the goal, but Biron reached back to make a sprawling glove save.

It was similar to the play late in Friday night’s game when Biron gloved Ziggy Palffy’s shot. However, it was ruled a goal as Biron’s glove crossed the goal line. Saturday night, though, Biron’s glove was clearly in front of the line as he robbed Surovy.

The Penguins (8-18-7) are off for five days. They welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

ICE CHIPS: Mario Lemieux, John LeClair, Ric Jackman and Ryan VandenBussche were the Penguins’ scratches.

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