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Sabres Downed on Controversial Goal



For the second time in three nights the Sabres lost in overtime. For the second time in three nights they let a third period lead slip away.

After Alex Kovalev lifted the Montreal Canadiens to victory with 24.3 seconds left in Saturday night’s game, the Sabres had to be sick with themselves for letting a division game slip away. It was relatively the same story Monday night as Buffalo squandered a 3-2 lead with less than 10 minutes left to drop their third game in 4 tries.

Penguins center Sydney Crosby ended the Sabres hopes when he tipped in a high puck 43 seconds into overtime to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 victory. Crosby’s stick appeared to be above the crossbar when he made contact with the puck but the goal stood after officials reviewed it.

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"It was pretty close," said Crosby. "But I don't think it was a high-stick. My stick was angled down. If I would have hit it a little higher up, I think we would have been flirting with danger a little bit more."

Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller disagreed. "I didn't get a great look, but from my gut feel I thought it was a little high," he said. Miller made 18 saves but lost in back to back overtime games for the first time this season.

The Sabres took control of the game early when Daniel Paille scored 1 minute into the first period to give Buffalo the lead. Ales Kotalik made it 2-0 in the second but the Penguins responded with goals by Pascal Dupuis and Alex Goligoski to tie it. Clarke MacArthur added a power play goal to give the Sabres back the lead 3-2.

Goligoski – the games first star with 3 points – scored his second of the game on a power play to tie it at 3 with 9:43 left in the third. "We haven't been playing that well, so that's a great road win against a good team," Goligoski said. "It's good for the locker room right now."

Less than a minute into overtime Crosby snapped his 9 game goal scoring drought, careening Evgeni Malkin’s shot past Ryan Miller. Malkin had three assists in the game to extend his nine game point streak and run his season point total to 55, which leads the league. Crosby is second with 46.

After being pulled in Saturday night’s loss against Toronto, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots to get his second win in three starts since returning from injury.

The Sabres lost despite out shooting Pittsburgh 35-22, including 13-3 in the third but the Penguins were able to score when they needed despite few chances.

"We played hard, so it was a tough break," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought our guys did a great job against a very skilled team."

The Sabres slipped to 16-13-5 on the season but still earned a point to run their season total to 37. They will have a break for Christmas and then travel to Washington on Friday.




Erich Straub
ProHockey-fans.com Buffalo Sabres Correspondent

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