Pens clinch playoff spot, down Buffalo 3-1

20170317pdPenguinsSports06 Matt Murray will start tonight against the Sabres at Key Bank Center
Peter Diana Post-GazetteMatt Murray will start tonight against the Sabres at Key Bank Center
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31 March, 2017

In the opening period, Buffalo defender Rasmus Ristolainen had a hip check to Jake Guentzel's head.

Both players will be lined up with the NHL's leader in goals when Pittsburgh faces the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

The scoring began just as the second period was coming to an end, and it was Sidney Crosby with an absolute beauty.

Bonino's go-ahead goal came after Penguins defenseman Ian Cole had the puck poked off his stick while driving into the left circle.

The players were still buzzing about Crosby's goal, his sixth in three games.

The spectacular goal gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead that they've held on to most of the way through the second period.

The Finn was given a five-minute major penalty for interference and ejected 8:46 into the contest when he leveled Guentzel as the forward waited for a pass that was intercepted just outside his own blue line. Was Ristolainen probably planning to lay a big hit when Guentzel got the puck?

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Guentzel would attempt to get up and go to the bench but he stumbled and looked in bad shape. Guentzel had helped the trio become the Penguins' most productive line by far over the previous eight games. It was a possible game-chainging penalty kill at the time for the Sabres.

And he only needed one hand to do it.

There might not be a sweeter job in hockey than riding shotgun on the wing of Sidney Crosby.

The Sabres answered Crosby's goal early in the third period on a rebound from Sam Reinhart, who pocketed his seventeenth goal of the season. Defensively, the Pittsburgh Penguins are allowing 2.7 goals per game and are killing 80.4 percent of their opponents power plays.

Both teams would fail to take advantage of power play opportunities through the middle of the third before the Penguins would take the lead. With four injured defensemen, the Sabres' depth has been tested recently.

As for Tuesday night's game, Pittsburgh went on to win that by the score of 3-1. Bonino would put a shot on net through traffic that beat the screened Lehner. with 5:29 to play. bones is heating up at the right time, much like past year when the famed HBK line started to rule the world.


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