Published May 02, 2016
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Sutter recorded the only goals of the contest and the Pittsburgh Penguins reached the postseason with a 2-0 decision over Buffalo.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots for his 10th shutout of the year for the Penguins (43-27-12), who saw a comfortable place in the standings at midseason spiral out of control to the point where a loss could have kept them from the playoffs.
Pittsburgh secured the final wild-card entry in the Eastern Conference. The Pens will take on the Metropolitan Division champions and Presidents' Trophy winners, the New York Rangers, in the first round.
"We know them well, they know us well, so there shouldn't be any surprises," Pens captain Sidney Crosby said. "It should be a pretty intense, physical series but like I said hopefully we can kind of ride this momentum a bit here, getting this big win and continue it into the playoffs."
Anders Lindback made 36 saves for the Sabres (23-51-8), who had already clinched last place in the NHL with a loss on Friday.
Sutter snapped the scoreless stalemate with 5:37 to play in the second period, moving from the right wing behind the goal line into the high slot and recording his 20th goal of the season on the backhand.
The Pens picked up an insurance marker at 8:26 of the third thanks to Sutter, who tapped in a feed from Daniel Winnik at the left side.
Lindback was pulled for an extra skater inside of three minutes to play, but Fleury only had to be alert on one shot, from Tyler Myers with under 40 seconds showing.
"This is a real good group of guys," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "You don't have to be the most skilled or the best players in the world to be a professional team or act like a champion. These guys played hard. That was one of the things I mentioned before the game, play hard for the fans."
Sutter reached the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career, with the first coming in 2009-10 for Carolina ... Fleury has 38 career whitewashes ... The Penguins have won five straight and seven of their last eight games in Buffalo.