Crosby, Fleury lead Penguins past Sabres 4-1
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his goal with teammates Chris Kunitz (14), Matt Niskanen (2), and Pascal Dupuis (9) in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby and Chuck Kobasew each scored his second goal of the season and Marc-Andre Fleury was nearly perfect again, making 20 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Saturday night.
Craig Adams also scored his second goal and Chris Kunitz converted a penalty shot to help the Penguins open 2-0 for the third straight season. Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen added two assists and forward Pascal Dupuis, playing in his 800th game, also had an assist.
Fleury has sparkled through two games, turning aside 47 of 48 shots. He earned his 250th career victory and 24th shutout with a 3-0 win Thursday against New Jersey.
Thomas Vanek spoiled Fleury’s bid for another shutout at 15:06 of the third period.
Fleury has displayed the confidence and poise unseen last spring when he lost the starting job to Tomas Vokoun after compiling a 3.40 goals-against average during an ugly first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders.
The Penguins were disciplined defensively in front of Fleury, blocking pucks and limiting Buffalo to 14 shots through two periods, including five in the second. Fleury did his part during a late second-period power play, denying Tyler Ennis and Vanek’s rebound in the slot, keeping the Penguins ahead by a pair after two periods.
The Sabres (0-3) are approaching their worst start since opening 0-5 with two ties during the 1999-2000 season.
Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller was brilliant Friday, stopping 45 shots during a 1-0 home loss to Ottawa, but he missed Saturday’s game with a lower body injury. He is expected to return for the Sabres’ home game Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth got the call Saturday, making 31 saves. He didn’t get much help from the offensively challenged Sabres, who have two goals in their first three games. Buffalo, also 0 for 13 on the power play, is experiencing growing pains, starting three teenagers and five rookies.
For the second straight game, Crosby and Kobasew staked the Penguins to a two-goal lead in the first period.
Dupuis sent a spinning backhand pass from the slot to Crosby, who smacked his own rebound past Enroth, extending his point streak to 15 games against the Sabres.
Kobasew struck 10 minutes later, deflecting Brandon Sutter’s slap shot from the point under Enroth’s glove.
Kunitz put it away midway through the third when he scored on a penalty shot, banking the puck off Enroth’s body and into the net.
NOTES: Penguins All-Star forward James Neal is week-to-week with an upper body injury. ... Sabres D Henrik Tallinder, who sustained an upper body injury Friday against Ottawa, will miss about a week. ... D Alexander Sulzer, recalled Saturday, was scratched for the Sabres along with John Scott. D Deryk Engelland sat out for the Penguins. ... The Penguins conclude a three-game homestand Tuesday against Carolina.