Reuters - Wed, 03 Mar 08:53:00 2010
Sergei Gonchar, Pascal Dupuis and Ruslan Fedotenko all scored for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who returned from the two-week Olympic break with a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Sidney Crosby, who scored Canada's gold-medal winning goal at the Vancouver Games had an assist, although his rematch with American goaltender Ryan Miller failed to materialise because Patrick Lalime started for the Sabres and made 25 saves.
Buffalo fell 2-0 behind before Toni Lydman, who played for Finland at the Games, put the visitors on the board.
Derek Roy added Buffalo's second goal at 14:21 in the third, three minutes after Fedotenko had given Pittsburgh (37-22-4) a 3-1 lead.
The Sabres (33-19-9) have now lost seven of their last eight contests and remain one game behind the Ottawa Senators for the Northeast Division lead.
"Physically it wasn't that big of a deal but maybe mentally it's a little more draining than a usual regular season game," Lydman said.
"But you can't blame it on the break, they had some guys who played in the tournament, too."
Buffalo's Miller was rested after picking up MVP honours at Vancouver but is expected to start Wednesday against the Washington Capitals.
Crosby was limited to 17 minutes in his return to action but the Penguins were able to thrive without a big night from their star. Gonchar added an assist while notching the 200th goal of his career.
"It's not bad, (despite) going on a long flight and getting here and getting right back in the swing of things," Crosby said. "I'll try to manage my rest as we go along here, but I felt all right considering all that."