PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins thought an effective
power play would be critical to a good start this season. So far,
they've been right.
The surging Pittsburgh power-play unit produced four consecutive
goals to erase an early 1-0 deficit and lead the Penguins to a 5-2
victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
''We have the best player in Mario Lemieux and another guy in
the top five or 10 in Alexei Kovalev, so we definitely should score
on the power play,'' said Alexandre Daigle, who scored his first
goal since returning from a two-year retirement. ''You're going to
get six or seven opportunities every night, so for us it's
definitely a key.''
Pittsburgh, which is 4-2-2, has scored power-play goals in seven
straight games and is 13-for-42 in that span. Daigle, Wayne Primeau
and Michal Rozsival all scored their first goals of the season with
Pittsburgh on the power play Saturday, and Aleksey Morozov's
seventh goal of the season also came with the man advantage.
''You get a guy in front, you hit the net and you can score,''
said Penguins' coach Rick Kehoe, who was encouraged to see Daigle
and Primeau score goals by deflecting shots from the point.
''(Assistant coaches) Joey Mullen and Eddie Johnston have been
doing a lot of videotape work and showing what the other teams are
doing penalty-killing wise, and players are responding.''
Lemieux had two assists to push his league-leading total to 18
points, and Kovalev scored his seventh goal of the season at even
strength 43 seconds into the third to give him a goal in five
The Sabres, who entered as the league's second-most penalized
team, allowed the Penguins six power plays.
''I thought we had some very undisciplined penalties,'' Buffalo
coach Lindy Ruff said. ''We definitely crossed the line of where we
want to be.''
Buffalo, beginning a six-game road trip, is 1-4-1 since opening
the season with two victories.
Adam Mair, acquired in July from Los Angeles, scored his first
goal for the Sabres at 8:24 of the opening period when he slid his
own rebound past Johan Hedberg for Buffalo's first shorthanded goal
of the season. But Primeau scored his first power-play goal in
three seasons just 15 seconds later, and Daigle's first goal since
March 3, 2000, put the Penguins ahead to stay at 16:23.
Morozov beat Martin Biron on a backhander from the bottom of the
left circle at 5:30 of the second period to make it 3-1. Rozsival
took Daigle's pass at the right point and scored on a slap shot for
a 4-1 lead.
''Going in, we knew they had a very talented power play,''
Buffalo's Stu Barnes said. ''But you can't give up that many
power-play goals in a game and expect to be in it.''
The Penguins are 10-1-4 in their last 15 home games against
Buffalo. ... Pittsburgh was 0-for-13 on the power play against
Buffalo last season. ... Lemieux (four goals and 18 points) and
Kovalev (seven goals and 13 points) both have seven-game scoring
streaks. ... Jochen Hecht's goal in the second snapped an 0-for-21
power-play drought for the Sabres.