BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- After all the pretty scoring chances
Buffalo Sabres forward Jochen Hecht had, it was the ugly one that
proved to be the difference.
AP Photo/David Duprey
Sidney Crosby celebrates teammate Mark Recchi's goal in the second period, but it was not enough to give Pittsburgh its first win. AP Photo/David Duprey
Hecht jammed in a loose puck from in close with 20 seconds left
in overtime, lifting Buffalo to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh
Penguins on Monday night.
"I just whacked it in and it trickled in over the line,
barely," Hecht said. "Finally, something went in."
The goal came on Hecht's game-high seventh shot on net and after
goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had stopped 38 of the 40 shots he had
Tim Connolly set it up, when he put the puck on net from a bad
angle from the right boards. Fleury used his skate to trap the puck
against the post when Hecht took several jabs at it before it
"Just to go in there and hack away at it is the key to that
goal," coach Lindy Ruff said. "And we stayed with it. It was easy
to get frustrated after missing the amount of chances we missed.
... Just keep grinding, keep working."
Defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick and rookie Paul Gaustad, with the
first of his career, also scored for Buffalo, while Ryan Miller
stopped 26 shots. The Sabres (3-1-0) have opened the season with
three straight home wins for the first time since winning their
first five in 1984-85.
The loss was Pittsburgh's third straight decided in a shootout
or overtime, and comes after the Penguins squandered a two-goal
lead in a 7-6 overtime loss to Boston on Saturday.
"It's disappointing," Lemieux said. "Any time you start a
season, you want to start well. We've lost in overtime and in
shootouts. It's just the way it's going."
Palffy and Mark Recchi both had a goal and an assist while
Crosby, the overall No. 1 draft pick, had an assist, giving him a
point (one goal, five assists) in each of the Penguins four games.
"We're close," Crosby said. "We have to make sure we keep
plugging. It's just a matter of getting that one more goal."
Fleury did everything he could to keep the Penguins in, stopping
16 of 17 shots in the second period alone.
Fleury, the first player selected in the 2003 draft, made his
first start of the season, filling in after Jocelyn Thibault hurt
his knee in practice on Saturday.
Buffalo, coming off a 5-0 loss at Ottawa on Saturday, got a lift
from its fourth-liners in a game the Sabres never trailed.
Mike Grier, with a cross-ice pass, set up Fitzpatrick, who was
pinching in from the point, to open the scoring three minutes in.
Then Gaustad converted a rebound in front, wrapping it in behind a
fallen Fleury midway through the second.
"All camp we've been saying everybody's got to do a little bit
of everything," Gaustad said. "It's a team effort every night and
I think that's how we're going to win."
The Penguins responded four minutes later on a broken play in
front of the Sabres net. Crosby, in the slot, fanned while slapping
at a bouncing puck, which dribbled to Recchi to the left of the
net. Catching Miller leaning the wrong way, Recchi snapped a shot
that went in high on the short side.
Miller's best stops came early in the third period when he got a
pad out to foil Crosby on a partial break and, seconds later, stood
his ground to stop Recchi in close.
Lemieux made only his second regular-season appearance at
Buffalo since 1996-97. It was the sixth of his career, a span in
which he's registered one assist. ... Crosby was issued his first
career penalty, an interference call for shoving Sabres D Teppo
Numminen going after a loose puck at 13:24 of the first period. ...
Sabres D Dmitri Kalinin made his season debut after missing the
first three games with a groin injury.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: First Niagara Center Location: Buffalo, New York
Referees: Blaine Angus, Kerry Fraser Linesmen: David Brisebois, Scott Driscoll
Attendance: 12,050 (64.5% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Rory Fitzpatrick (1)
Assists: Mike Grier, Taylor Pyatt
Zigmund Palffy (3)
Assists: Sergei Gonchar, Mark Recchi
Paul Gaustad (1)
Assists: Toni Lydman, Ales Kotalik
Mark Recchi (2)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Zigmund Palffy
No scoring this period
Jochen Hecht (1)
Assists: Tim Connolly, Toni Lydman