O’Reilly and the Sabres stun Penguins to end losing streak


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Cal O’Reilly scored the lone goal in a shootout, and the Buffalo Sabres snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

William Carrier scored his first NHL goal and Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson stopped 46 shots through overtime plus all three shootout attempts he faced.

Buffalo snapped an 0-4-2 skid and ended a nine-game slide against the Penguins. The Sabres had gone 0-8-1 versus Pittsburgh since a 4-2 road win on April 23, 2013.

Sidney Crosby scored for Pittsburgh, which has alternated losses and wins over its past five games since a 9-2-2 start.

O’Reilly’s shootout goal came after he was called up from Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester earlier in the day.

After Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart were stopped on their shootout attempts, O’Reilly drove in on the right wing, cut to the front of the net and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a snap shot to the glove side.

Nilsson then sealed the win by stopping the Penguins’ final try, when Kris Letang attempted to beat the goalie through the legs.

Nilsson’s best save came with 2:55 left in overtime, when he kicked out his left pad at the last moment to foil Letang on a breakaway.

Though outshot 18-6 in the first period, the Sabres led 1-0 after capitalizing on one of their few chances.

Penguins forward Matt Cullen misplayed Bryan Rust‘s pass along the left boards in his own zone. The puck went directly to Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun at the point and he immediately snapped it toward the net, where Carrier deflected it in for his first career goal.

The Penguins took 31 shots before finally beating Nilsson on Crosby’s power-play goal with 14:14 left.

On the faceoff after defenseman Cody Franson was called for interference, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin started the play by getting a hard shot off from the left circle. Nilsson stopped it, but couldn’t control the rebound, which dribbled into the slot. Chris Kunitz immediately swept the puck to an open Crosby, who snapped a shot inside the right post.

Crosby has essentially owned the Sabres during his career. It was his 15th goal and 50th point in 32 career games against Buffalo.

The goal was also Crosby’s 12th of the season and 350th of his career.

Fleury was particularly sharp 2 minutes into the third period, when he got his glove up to stop Evander Kane‘s shot from the left circle. Fleury then got across to his left to bat down Brian Gionta‘s off-balance shot from the slot.

It was a bounce-back performance for Fleury, who finished with 32 saves through overtime. He had allowed 15 goals in going 1-1-1 in his previous four appearances.

The Sabres improved to 2-4-2 in eight home games, a stretch in which Buffalo has been outscored 18-9.

Home or away, the Sabres haven’t scored more than two goals in regulation in 10 games, since a 3-1 win at Winnipeg on Oct. 30. That also marked the last time Buffalo has held a two-goal lead.

Overtime was a back-and-forth display of scoring opportunities.

Fleury got his right arm up to stop Okposo’s shot from the slot with 1:37 remaining. A half-minute later, Fleury got across to his right in time to stop Reinhart, who was set up alone in front.