Sabres face quick turnaround against visiting Pens

The Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The playoffs may be out of reach for the Sabres, but Buffalo showed improvement in a key area to wrap up a four-game road trip on Monday.

The Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Detroit Red Wings and were able to hold on for a 2-1 road win, ending the trip with a record of 2-2-0. Holding onto leads has been an issue for the Sabres all season long, but goalie Robin Lehner turned away 34 shots to help lead Buffalo to victory.

Buffalo (30-31-12) won't have any time to savor the victory, however, with a quick turnaround against one of the best teams in the league. The Sabres will host the Pittsburgh Penguins (45-17-9) on Tuesday night.

"I think we came out good," Lehner said. "I think we played well. There wasn't a lot of turnovers. We played a good game. ... They came out in the third, they're obviously going to have a push and they have good players on that team. I thought we did a good job defensively of helping me out with rebounds and seeing the puck."

Lehner has been one of the few positives for the Sabres throughout what has been a trying season overall. In 52 games, Lehner has a save percentage of .922 and a 2.64 goals against average.

Jack Eichel opened the scoring for Buffalo on Monday on the power play with his 21st goal of the season. Eichel missed the start of the season with a high ankle sprain but has been producing at a top-notch rate since returning; he has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 52 games.

Matt Moulson also had a power-play goal in the win over Detroit.

"Offensively I think the power play is what makes us go," Moulson said. "Hopefully we can feed off of that and get goals 5-on-5."

The Penguins are coming off back-to-back home wins (6-4 over New Jersey on Friday, 4-0 over Florida on Sunday) and have won seven of their past nine games. Sidney Crosby has been lights out with five goals and one assist in the past two games; Crosby had a hat trick in the win over Florida. He also had 10 points in his last five games.

Crosby ranks second in the league in points (80) and is first in goals (40).

"Crosby is the best player in the world, so when he's going like that, he's going but also (Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel) were playing great," defenseman Ian Cole said, according to the team's website. "It's a real treat to see those guys buzzing like they are, as dynamic as they are. It's really good for our team when they're doing that."

One of Pittsburgh's other superstars, Evgeni Malkin, is not expected to play due to an upper-body injury. He has missed Pittsburgh's past two games.

What to Read Next