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Penguins lose to Sabres hours after James Neal signing

Feb 19, 2012, 3:10 PM EDT

Derek Roy Getty Images

For the third straight game, the Buffalo Sabres scored first. The only difference is, this time they didn’t cough up the lead.

Mere hours after signing James Neal to a six-year/$30 million contract extension, the Penguins quickly found themselves down 2-0 just 4:16 minutes into the first period of Sunday’s game. Paul Gaustad netted his seventh goal of the season at 2:52 of the second period to drive out Penguins starting goaltender Brent Johnson. However, Marc-Andre Fleury did not fare much better as Buffalo went onto win 6-2.

Derek Roy, who has been a big disappointment this season, came up big with two goals and an assist. Thomas Vanek managed to stay out of the sin bin a day after Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called him out for taking selfish penalties. Vanek also registered an assist and finished the game with a plus-three rating. Meanwhile, Christian Ehrhoff, who has been quiet offensively for the Sabres since missing most of January due to an upper body injury, recorded a season-high three assists.

On the Penguins’ side of thing, the newly signed Neal did register an assist on Jordan Staal’s power-play goal and was one of the few Pittsburgh players to finish the game with a neutral plus/minus rating. Evgeni Malkin also got an assist to give him a league-leading 71 points in 52 games.

Buffalo desperately needed this win as they are still seven points behind the eighth place Toronto Maple Leafs with just 23 games left to go. Pittsburgh’s situation isn’t nearly as dire, but this is a setback as they battle for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

  1. hockeyfan1701 - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    They need a backup goalie badly.

    • tribesofneurot - Feb 19, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      The Pens really do. Badly. I kinda miss Conklin.
      I would laugh if Shero went and got one. Johnny is just awful.So many soft goals.
      The best thing he has done was beat up DiPietro.

  2. buffalomafia - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    I agree! So does Philly & Chicago.

  3. emperor83 - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    This is PURE Buffalo, not NAP Buffalo…

  4. billsin20xx - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    You should put up the video of Ennis’s goal. Never saw someone right in front of the goalie put the puck on the blade of his stick, flip it over the defensemens stick passing it to himself, and then putting it in the net.
    I don’t think the announcers noticed how he did it, they didn’t even comment on it.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      they did, they just said he pulled it over to himself and put it in though. it looked more like luck than anything, probably why they didnt make a big deal out of it. nhl players tip it to themselves all the time, he just lucked out that it was in front of a gaping net

  5. emperor83 - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Milbury needs to go. He’s the worst “analyst” I’ve ever seen or heard from any sport. The only one I’ve ever known of to show complete blatant bias against teams just because they were division rivals back in his day. FIRE HIM!

  6. modellforprez - Feb 19, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Johny has got togo pulled 3 of his last 5 just awful. summonse thiessen

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