Derek Roy scored twice and added an assist for the Buffalo Sabres, who snapped a four-game skid with a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
Jason Pominville had a goal and two assists, while Ryan Miller made 22 saves, including stopping Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin on breakaway attempts in the second period. Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo (25-27-7), which improved to 1-3-1 in its past five, and moved out of a tie with Carolina for last place in the Eastern Conference.
Deryk Engelland and Jordan Staal scored for the Penguins, who dropped to 4-2-1 in their past seven and failed to build off a 6-4 win at Philadelphia a day earlier. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed four goals on the 12 shots he faced after taking over for Brent Johnson, who allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Pittsburgh (33-21-5) lost to Buffalo for only the second time in nine meetings (2-7-0), and squandered a chance to move ahead of the fourth-place Flyers in the East.
The Sabres jumped to a 2-0 lead 4:16 in, and finally found a way to get a first-period lead to stand up. After Staal cut Buffalo’s lead to 3-2 by scoring a power-play goal 5:05 into the third period, the Sabres responded with two goals in a span of 2:22.
Stafford regained the Sabres’ two-goal edge 65 seconds after Staal scored. After failing to convert Thomas Vanek’s pass through the crease, Stafford maintained control of the puck, circled the net and banked a shot in off Fleury.
Roy then sealed the victory with a short-handed goal. Pominville set him up by sending a pass into the middle, which Roy redirected past Fleury.
Buffalo blew two one-goal leads in a 4-3 shootout loss to Montreal on Friday, and squandered a 2-0 lead in a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday.
Pominville and Roy opened the scoring with goals on consecutive shots. And Johnson was yanked after Gaustad scored 2:52 into the second period to put the Sabres ahead 3-0. Nathan Gerbe circled the net, came out the right side and got a shot off that Johnson stopped. Gaustad got to the rebound and flipped it over the fallen goalie.
Fleury was sharp through the second period in helping the Penguins attempt to mount a rally. Midway through the second period, Fleury got his glove out in stopping Patrick Kaleta, who was awarded a penalty shot after Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz threw his stick at the puck.
Miller was better against a high-powered Penguins offense that had scored 19 goals in its previous four games.
Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff’s giveaway in his own zone led to Staal being set up all alone driving to the net, only to have Miller get a piece of the shot off his left shoulder less than two minutes in.
Malkin had an even better chance four minutes later, when he chased down a loose puck at the Sabres blue line and headed toward the net. Malkin patiently waited until he got to the top of the crease before snapping a shot, which Miller turned away with his right pad.
NOTES: After managing just three goals and two assists in 20 games, Sabres C Roy now has two goals and three assists in his past three. … Johnson was appearing in only his fifth game in two months, as the Penguins attempted to provide Fleury a break after he stopped 27 shots in a 6-4 win at Philadelphia on Saturday. Fleury has now appeared in all but nine of the Penguins’ 59 games this season. … Prior to the game, the Penguins announced they had signed LW James Neal to a six-year, $30 million contract extension. … The Sabres are 0-for-2 on penalty shots this season, and 19 of 53 overall.