Sabres slice Penguins on Presley's key goal

The Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. The injury-riddled and low-scoring Buffalo Sabres didn't appear to have much chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, the Sabres had to counter Jaromir Jagr with guys like Wayne Presley.

The Sabres were more than happy they had Presley after he scored twice last night and helped put the Penguins away with a short-handed goal with 5:24 remaining en route to a 6-3 victory.

It seemed fitting that Presley, who put Buffalo in a deep hole by taking a five-minute penalty in the third period, scored the key goal that put Buffalo ahead 5-3.

''I watched the whole five minutes, and I had a lot of time to think,'' Presley said. ''The guys did a good job of killing it off for me. Fortunately, I got a chance to redeem myself and gave us a little breathing room.''

Presley picked up a loose puck near the blue line, faked Wendell Young to his knees and slid the puck into the net for his sixth goal of the season. Brad May added an empty-net goal with one second remaining.

The Sabres held Pittsburgh without a shot until Presley's penalty, and Buffalo needed to kill off another minor to Alexei Zhitnik to start a key four-game stretch with a victory. The Sabres play Quebec Saturday before a home-and-home series with Montreal.

''This is a huge win for us,'' said Derek Plante, who had a goal, an assist and helped kill the penalties. ''We beat one of the best teams in the league, and we scored six goals doing it.''

The Sabres offense had been struggling all season, and injuries to six regulars including Dale Hawerchuk and Pat LaFontaine figured to put them in even deeper trouble against the Penguins, who are tied for the best record in the NHL.

Buffalo's six goals were the most it has managed this season. Dominik Hasek stopped 27 shots for the Sabres and made a number of key saves in the third period.

The last time the teams met, Buffalo jumped to a three-goal lead before giving up three goals in the third period of a 3-3 tie.

''In both games, they worked extremely hard and got the lead both times, and we're fighting back all the time,'' Penguins winger Joe Mullen said. ''Once they get the lead, they've got a kid like Hasek that's playing unbelievable.''

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