Gonchar nets 200th goal in Penguins' win
The Penguins were digging defense Tuesday night after a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar scored his 200th NHL goal, and in the debut of newly acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold the Penguins held Buffalo to five shots on four fruitless power-play chances.
"Our penalty kill was incredible tonight," Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson said after stopping 26 shots. "They were getting in lanes, doing all the little things to keep (Sabres shooters) from getting good looks.
"That's what it takes to win games against quality teams, and it was a great sign that we came out and played like that after so much off time."
For all but five lineup regulars this was the first hockey game played by most Penguins since a shootout loss at home to Nashville on Feb. 14. Centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Gonchar all were part of their respective national teams at the Vancouver Games.
Crosby, who scored the winning goal in the gold-medal game Sunday, recorded an assist against Buffalo — as did Malkin, whose Russian squad was eliminated from medal contention by Crosby's Canadian team.
Leopold, acquired Monday for a second-round pick from Florida, skated with Alex Goligoski and played 18 minutes and 12 seconds. He was on the ice for a late goal scored by Sabres center Derek Roy.
"I didn't play my greatest game, but you get rid of that one and you build on it," he said.
Gonchar's ninth goal, winger Pascal Dupuis' 14th and winger Ruslan Fedotenko's ninth accounted for the Penguins' scoring. Defenseman Toni Lydman added a goal for Buffalo.
The Penguins (37-22-4, 78 points) won the season series from Buffalo, going 3-1-0 against a possible first-round playoff opponent. Olympic tournament MVP and Sabers goalie Ryan Miller did not play in two of those and was pulled from one after allowing three goals on 11 shots.