Penguins hold off Sabres, strengthen hold on playoff spot

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With Ryan O'Reilly on the shelf, the Pittsburgh Penguins probably hoped to dominate the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

It didn’t happen that way, but grabbing a win was the most important thing, and Pittsburgh did that by holding on for a 4-3 victory.

(And, hey, to be fair … Evgeni Malkin‘s still out of the lineup, too. He was placed on IR on Sunday, by the way.)

Again, not a perfect game for the Penguins.

Still, they got points from the usual suspects (a goal each from Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist, plus an assist by Sidney Crosby) while young forward Scott Wilson pitched in another goal.

Kris Letang was probably the real standout, racking up three assists.

Zach Bogosian really unleashed his hard shot in this one, scoring two goals and adding an assist in Buffalo’s charge to try to push the game to overtime. The Sabres’ power play was a double-edged sword, as they went 2-for-3 but allowed a Matt Cullen shorthanded tally.

The Penguins find themselves more solidly in the playoff mix, moving at least briefly up to the first wild card spot (Detroit could push them to second this evening). Sure, they stumble here and there, but Pittsburgh continues to stride in the right direction.