Penguins defeat Sabres, 4-3

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Penguins extended their winning streak to three games and took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres today at First Niagara Center.

The Penguins have 22 points in 16 games.

The Penguins scored twice in the first 68 seconds.

Pascal Dupuis made it 1-0 35 seconds into the first period when he deflected a shot by Brooks Orpik backward and between his legs.

Sidney Crosby followed at 1:08 to make it 2-0 when he slipped a puck inside the left goal post.

The Sabres cut that lead in half when Cody Hodgson got to a rebound of a hard shot by Christian Ehrhoff. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped one whack by Hodgson, who got the puck back but fumbled it as it bumped across the top of the crease, but Hodgson eventually swatted it past the left skate of Fleury make it 2-1 at 6:32 of the first period.

With Crosby and Tanner Glass in the penalty box, Buffalo got a five-on-three power-play goal to tie it, 2-2, at 9:16 of the second period. Thomas Vanek got his NHL-best 12th goal when a shot by Ehrhoff glanced in off of Vanek's leg.

Steve Ott broke the tie to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead when he took a feed from Nathan Gerbe and flipped the puck past Fleury at 5:17 of the third period.

The Penguins came back quickly, 1:49 later, when Dupuis scored from the inner edge of the right circle off of a feed from Kris Letang to tie it, 3-3, at 7:06 of the third period.

Paul Martin's shot from the top of the slot gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead at 17:56 of the third period.

The Penguins' next game is Wednesday at home against Philadelphia.

Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly.

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