Hornqvist helps get Penguins another ‘W’
On the ice
Next up: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet
By John Wawrow
The Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Patric Hornqvist scored twice in leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 win over Buffalo on Thursday night that extended the Sabres’ skid to five straight.
Sidney Crosby and Marcus Pettersson also scored, and the Penguins won consecutive games after losing six in a row. Evgeni Malkin had two assists to follow a four-assist outing in a 7-3 win over Ottawa on Tuesday.
Matt Murray stopped 28 shots to improve to 3-4-1 in his past eight starts and win consecutive games for the first time since a 6-0 run from Dec. 28 to Feb. 2.
Jake McCabe and Marcus Johansson scored for Buffalo, and rookie Jonas Johansson stopped 28 shots.
Sabres captain and leading scorer Jack Eichel was held without a point for a sixth-consecutive game to mark the longest drought of his five-year NHL career.
Buffalo followed an 0-4 road trip by losing a fifth consecutive game. Though the Sabres went 0-4-2 earlier this season, they had not lost five straight in regulation since an 0-6 skid from Dec. 28, 2015, to Jan. 8, 2016.
With the game tied at 1, Pettersson scored the go-ahead goal 12:26 into a game the Penguins never trailed.
Bryan Rust set up the goal by driving the left circle and spinning to feed the point, where Petterson slapped it in through Johansson’s legs.
The Sabres had two goalie interference decisions go against them with both leading to goals by the Penguins.
Hornqvist opened the scoring 7:56 into the first period by sweeping in a loose puck inside the left post and with Johansson scrambling to get back into position. Johansson was driven into the back of his net after center Nick Bjugstad was tripped up driving to the crease and rammed headfirst into the goalie.
The goal stood after the Sabres challenged for goalie interference, with the NHL ruling two Sabres defenders caused Bjugstad to crash into Johansson.
The Sabres still capitalized with McCabe scoring a short-handed breakaway 65 seconds later, with Buffalo serving a delay of game penalty as a result of the failed challenge.
A goalie interference penalty against Buffalo’s Johan Larsson then led to Hornqvist’s power-play goal to put the Penguins up 3-1 at the 13:32 mark of the second period. Larsson was penalized while appearing to fight for position with Brian Dumoulin while driving to the front of the net, and bowling over Murray.
Crosby sealed the victory by capping a 2-on-1 break with a backhander 6:02 into the third period, some four minutes after Johansson scored to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-2.
The Penguins assured themselves of staying in third place in the tightly contested Metropolitan Division standings. The day began with eight points separating the first-place Washington Capitals and fifth-place New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh got a boost in continuing to get healthier, with Bjugstad earning an assist in his first game after missing 46 with a lower-body injury.
Dumoulin, who missed 37 games after having ankle surgery, and fellow defenseman John Marino (11 games, facial fractures) both returned in a 7-3 win over Ottawa on Tuesday.
Game notes: Sabres G Linus Ullmark is in position to return as early as this weekend after missing his 17th game with an injury to his lower right leg. … Murray appeared in his 197th career game with Pittsburgh, moving him one ahead of Les Binkley for fifth on the franchise list. … Malkin extended his point streak to 12 games against Buffalo, in which he has six goals and 12 assists for 18 points.
Penguins: Host Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Sabres: At Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.