Penguins rally but fall to Sabres in overtime in preseason opener
UNIVERSITY PARK — The Penguins opened their preseason with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday at Pegula Ice Arena.
The scoring opened at 4 minutes, 34 seconds of the first period when Penguins forward Andrew Agozzino, a journeyman signed to a two-way contract, fired a shot from the slot past Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton. The lone assist was recorded by Nathan Legare, the Penguins’ third-round pick in this year’s draft.
Buffalo tied the score at 5:44 of the first on a goal by defenseman John Gilmour, who lasered a wrister from the left circle past goaltender Casey DeSmith.
Buffalo took the lead at 18:47 of the first when former Penguins forward Conor Sheary got loose down the slot and lifted a wrister over DeSmith.
At 11:40 of the second period, the Sabres made it a 3-1 advantage on a goal by defenseman Henry Jokiharju from the left circle against Tristan Jarry, who replaced DeSmith — by design — at the 9:22 mark.
It became a 4-1 score when Sabres forward Tage Thompson chopped in a rebound past Jarry during a power play at the 15:58 mark of the second.
The Penguins’ second goal was scored only 51 seconds into the third period by forward Sam Lafferty, a prospect from nearby Hollidaysburg. Defensive prospect John Marino went wide on the right wing and pushed a pass through the crease to Lafferty, who fired a forehand shot past goaltender Jonas Johansson.
It became a one-goal contest at 6:24 of the third when Penguins forward Adam Johnson collected a sloppy Sabres turnover at the Buffalo blue line, raced in on his backhand and lifted a sly forehand shot past Johansson’s glove. It was unassisted.
The Penguins tied the score at 8:46 of the third when defenseman Jack Johnson chopped a puck at the left point on net, where forward prospect Ryan Haggerty deflected it past Johansson.
With only eight seconds remaining in overtime, Sabres forward Jack Eichel scored on a breakway to earn the victory.
The Sabres, who dressed a lineup primarily composed of their top players such as forward Eichel and Jeff Skinner, considerably outshot the Penguins, 47-18. The Penguins’ lineup had only a handful of NHL regulars such as Bryan Rust and Johnson.
Jarry was credited with the loss.
The Penguins’ next preseason game is 7 p.m. Thursday at PPG Paints Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .