PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to do things the hard way.
Jordan Staal had two goals, including the tiebreaker late in the third period, and the Penguins scored four third-period goals to rally for their sixth straight victory, 5-2 over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Goligoski and Evgeni Malkin also scored to help Pittsburgh win for the sixth time this season when trailing after two periods, including the past four games.
“We don’t panic,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “That’s the main thing. We play our game. We didn’t want to change anything. … If we keep playing like this, I’m not going to say we’ll win every game, but we’ll put ourselves in a good position to win the game.”
Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo. The Sabres lost for the second straight night after falling 6-1 at home to Columbus.
Vanek’s power-play goal, his team-high 13th of the season, put Buffalo up 2-1 with 46 seconds left in the second period.
Pittsburgh tied it at 2 on Goligoski’s power-play goal 11:43 into the third period. Staal then beat goalie Ryan Miller at 15:27 to give the Penguins the lead for good.
Fedotenko’s goal just over a minute later made it 4-2, and Staal finished off the scoring with an empty-netter.
“The work was there,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. “We were pretty smart all night. We gave it away in basically six minutes.”
Pominville said it’s been a frustrating couple of days for the Sabres, who have allowed 11 goals in their past two games.
“We played really solid for 50 minutes and didn’t play well for ten,” he said. “They made some plays and (the puck) ended up in the back of our net. We’re tired of getting scored against. We’ve got to make sure we sharpen up defensively and be ready for our next game.”
Staal has scored seven goals during the Penguins’ winning streak, including a hat trick in a win at Detroit, after having none through the first 11 games of the season.
“I knew I had been playing good hockey,” Staal said. “I knew it was only a matter of time for me.”
Staal also knew the Penguins could come back yet again Saturday night.
“This team seems to never give up,” he said, “and when we get the momentum, it’s kind of scary.”
The Penguins, who have scored 32 goals during their winning streak, struggled on offence at the start and recorded only six shots on goal in the first period.
“We had a slow start in the first 10 minutes,” Therrien said. “Other than that, I thought we played pretty solid.”
Their first goal came from Malkin, who tied it at 1 on a power play, 11:07 into the second period.
Malkin’s goal extended his scoring streak to 13 games. Malkin, who also had three assists, has six goals and 21 assists during his streak.
Malkin has 30 points in 17 games, and is on pace to score 144 points this season.
“I think he knows how good he is,” Therrien said. “He has a lot of confidence.”
Pominville scored off Andrej Sekera’s rebound to put Buffalo ahead 1-0 8:14 into the first period. Pominville, who had Buffalo’s only goal in its loss to Columbus, has scored in three consecutive games, and has a four-game scoring streak overall.
Notes: Buffalo hasn’t won at Mellon Arena since Dec. 16, 2005, a span of four games. … Pittsburgh faced an opponent who played the night before for the seventh time in 17 games this season. The Penguins are 4-1-2 in those seven games. … Pittsburgh and Buffalo played for the first time this season. The Penguins won all four games against the Sabres last season. … The Penguins wore their third jerseys for the first time this season. The powder blue jerseys, a throwback to the team’s original colours, were first worn during last season’s Winter Classic in Buffalo.