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Sabres seek consecutive wins in meeting with Penguins

The Sabres were able to end a six-game slide to the concussion syndrome.

With the Pens' superstar once again sidelined, Buffalo will look to take advantage once more tonight in Pittsburgh and win consecutive games for the first time in over a month.

The Penguins swept their four-game set with the Sabres last year by a 12-5 margin and had won 15 of the previous 19 meetings before Buffalo recorded a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Oct. 15. The win was also just the Sabres' second in their last nine trips to the Steel City.

At the time, Crosby was still recovering from a concussion suffered last January and he ended a 10-month absence when he returned to action on Nov. 21. However, he skated in just eight games and logged 12 points before once again being shut down due to concussion symptoms stemming from a separate hit taken on Dec. 5.

Pittsburgh has played its last four games without Crosby and lost for the fourth time in five outings on Friday night with a 6-4 setback in Ottawa. Steve Sullivan paced the Pens' offense with a goal and two assists.

Chris Kunitz, Matt Niskanen and Evgeni Malkin also scored, but Brent Johnson was touched for five goals on 19 shots before getting pulled after the second period. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed a goal on five shots in relief.

"They used their speed to good effect against us tonight," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma. "We gave them too much room to work with and they made us pay."

In addition to Crosby, Kris Letang, Robert Bortuzzo and Zbynek Michalek all missed the game with concussions, while Jordan Staal sat out with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Paul Martin then left the game early in the third period with a lower-body issue after taking a hard hit.

The Sabres have had their share of injury problems this year as well and currently have Tyler Myers, Brad Boyes, Patrick Kaleta, Nathan Gerbe and Ville Leino all on injured reserve. Jochen Hecht and Corey Tropp are also out with injury, but Buffalo still managed a 5-4 victory over visiting Toronto on Friday.

Thomas Vanek led the way with a four-point night, scoring a pair of goals and assisting on two others. Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis and Andrej Sekera all lit the lamp and Ryan Miller made 29 saves.

"It was a fun game for fans to watch, that's for sure," said Miller. "Lots of good chances and lots of scoring. It was a good hockey game and I'm glad we came out on top."

Buffalo used three power-play goals to snap a two-game slide and conclude a five-game homestand 2-1-2. The Sabres will now look to win back-to-back contests for the first time since a four-game win streak from Nov. 4-11.

The Sabres are set to play three straight and five of their next six on the road, where they are 8-3-0 this season compared to 8-9-3 at home.