Buffalo came all the way back from 3-0 to defeat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the HSBC Arena. Star-netminder Ryan Miller got pulled after allowing three goals on just 11 shots early in the second period and in came in Patrick Lalime (pictured - right) to save the day. Lalime made 27 saves on all 27 shots that he faced.
Pittsburgh got the scoring going by a goal from Jordan Staal. Bill Guerin made it 2-0 to end the first period. Then in the second period, Chris Kunitz scored on a weak shot that beat Ryan Miller to bump the lead to 3-0 Pittsburgh. Then the Sabres got a huge momentum boost when Lalime came in for Miller.
Then Drew Stafford (pictured-left) was awarded a penalty shot and was successful on Marc-Andre Fleury to put Buffalo on the board. Stafford would score about two minutes later to cut the lead to 3-2 and then he made a great move to get around the Pens defense to set up Paul Gaustad to tie the game at the 7:28 mark of the third period. Then the Sabres powerplay got their act together after a 0-11 drought before Jason Pominville boosted the "Puckulation of Pominville" to put Buffalo ahead 4-3.
The Sabres would win a key faceoff against Sidney Crosby late in the game to secure the victory.
With the win, Buffalo now only trails the Washington Capitals by two points and the New Jersey Devils by three points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 52 points. The Penguins dropped to 1-3 in their past four games, and blew a chance to move into a tie with New Jersey atop the Conference standings. With 53 points, the Pens are two back of the Devils as they travel to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ to face their Atlantic Division rival on Wednesday night.
The last time Buffalo came back from trailing 3-0 was on January 16, 2009 as they defeated the Dallas Stars 5-4 in a shootout. Pittsburgh last blew a 3-0 lead on January 8, 2009 as the Nashville Predators skated away with a 5-3 win on home ice.
The Penguins kicked off a four-game road trip tonight in Buffalo and had their bus become stuck in the snow three blocks from the hotel. Coaches and team officials had to get out to push the bus so the team can get to the arena for the game. With 462 career wins with the Sabres, coach Lindy Ruff moved to within three of passing Glen Sather (Edmonton) for fourth place on the NHL list of coaching wins with one team.
Buffalo continues their current home-stand with a 7:30 PM faceoff against Max Afinogenov and the Atlanta Thrashers on New Years Day to ring in 2010.