Penguins Notebook: Rally falls short as loss ends preseason
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BUFFALO -- The Penguins nearly came up with a memorable ending to an otherwise forgettable preseason.
They rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals, but could not hold off a late Buffalo surge and lost to the Sabres, 4-3, at HSBC Arena in their exhibition finale last night.
The Penguins, who will open the regular season Friday at Carolina, completed preseason play with a 1-3-2 record.
They will have today off and are expected to pare their 27-man roster to the league-mandated limit of 23 by tomorrow.
Derek Roy, who scored twice in Buffalo's 6-5 victory at Mellon Arena Friday, gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 15:53 of the first last night, beating goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from along the goal line to the right of the net. The goal came 25 seconds after Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton was penalized for charging.
Dmitri Kalinin pushed the Sabres' lead to 2-0 by beating Fleury from near the top of the right circle at 4:32 of the second, but Max Talbot started the Penguins' comeback by throwing a wrist shot by Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller from inside the right circle at 12:10 while the Penguins were short-handed.
Although the Penguins failed to capitalize on a five-on-three power play that lasted 44 seconds late in the period, they tied the score on a Colby Armstrong goal at 1:47 of the third, as he put a shot off Miller and into the net from above the right dot.
Sergei Gonchar then put the Penguins in front, 3-2, with a power-play goal at 8:28 of the third by lashing a slap shot behind Miller from near the right point, but Buffalo reclaimed the lead for good on goals by Jason Pominville (12:54) and Tim Connolly (14:07).
A bad can opener
The Penguins got a scare early in the third period Friday when Sidney Crosby hurt a knee after Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek rode him into the boards.
Spacek finished the check after putting his stick between Crosby's legs and turning it, a potentially dangerous move known as a "can opener."
"He 'can-opened' me, so I couldn't stop myself from going into the boards," Crosby said. "I don't think he meant to do anything [malicious], but he puts a player in a pretty vulnerable position when he puts his stick in between his legs with his back toward him, going toward the boards."
Spacek was assessed a boarding minor.
Crosby, who got what he described as "a little bruise," said he was "fine" and skated in practice yesterday. He also traveled here with the team despite being given the night off.
Hall returns quickly
Adam Hall, a free-agent forward trying to earn a contract from the Penguins, was back in the lineup last night sporting a souvenir of a high-stick he took from Buffalo's Michael Ryan in the second period Friday.
Hall needed stitches to close a gash just above the bridge of his nose and had a CT scan on the injured area to make sure there was no additional damage from the blow, which earned Ryan a double-minor.
Hall, who has played for Nashville, Minnesota and the New York Rangers, was the only player to appear in all six of the Penguins' preseason games.
Wingers Petr Sykora (nose) and Gary Roberts (illness) have resumed practicing with their teammates.
First Published September 30, 2007 3:19 am