Brandon Sutter Leads Penguins Past Sabres to Lock Up Playoff Spot


The Pittsburgh Penguins finally managed to clinch a playoff spot, topping the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 in the final game of the season for their first victory in six contests.

Centre Brandon Sutter led the way for the Pens, scoring the only two goals of the game to take his season total to 21 – tying his career high set back in 2010.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 28 shots from the Sabres to earn his 10th shutout of the season. The 10th goose-egg makes Fleury the league leader in shutouts for the 2014-15 season, and doubles his previous career high of 5 set last season and in 2007.

The Pens came out of the gate firing, outshooting Buffalo 30 to 17 over the first two periods.

Sabres netminder Anders Lindback held down the fort admirably until the last five minutes of the second stanza, when Sutter potted his first of the game – sweeping around the cage from behind the goal line and whipping a backhand shot past Lindback.

Buffalo edged the Pens in shots in the third by a margin of 11 to 8, but it was Pittsburgh who got on the board.

Sutter earned his 21st of the season on a beautiful passing play with Patric Hornqvist and Daniel Winnik.

Hornqvist started the play off, throwing the puck into the slot from the blue line with a high saucer pass. Winnik then stepped up with a great play, catching the puck, tossing it down to his stick, and faking a shot before passing it to an open Sutter on the other side of the goal.

Sutter’s tally came after a scary play early in the third wherein he was hit in the face by an errant Sabres shot.

With the victory, the Pens clinched the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern conference, leaving the Boston Bruins on the outside looking in.

The finish sets up the Pens to face the President’s Trophy winning New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh is quite familiar with the Rangers as the latter eliminated them in a seven-game series last postseason.

New York took the season series with 3 wins over 4 contests, and finished with 15 more overall points on the season to emerge as the NHL’s top club.

It’ll certainly be a tough task for the Pens, who have stumbled mightily down the home stretch of the regular season, but at this point, Pittsburgh is surely just glad to have found their way into the playoffs.

More from Pens Labyrinth