Originally created 05/03/01

Sabres 5, Penguins 2



PITTSBURGH -- Stu Barnes had two goals in the third period, and Vladimir Tsyplakov added another as the Buffalo Sabres, trying to rally from a 2-0 playoff deficit for the first time, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 Wednesday night to even their series.

Jean-Pierre Dumont scored 1:28 into the game and Curtis Brown also had a goal as the Sabres won twice in Pittsburgh after being dominated twice at home by the Penguins. Just as in their 4-1 victory Monday in Game 3, the Sabres won it with a three-goal third period.

Martin Straka had a goal for Pittsburgh, but was stopped easily by Dominik Hasek on a penalty shot at 8:07 of the third that would have tied it at 3.

Barnes, a former Penguins player, had given Buffalo a 3-2 lead at 4:44, getting free from Ian Moran and Aleksey Morozov in front of the net just in time to deflect in Donald Audette's shot from the right circle.

Tsyplakov sealed it with a similar goal at 14:24, sweeping by defenseman Marc Bergevin to put in Vaclav Varada's rebound that bounced into the slot. Barnes scored again at 18:09, his third of the playoffs and second of the game.

Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series where the home team has yet to win will be Saturday in Buffalo, where the Penguins outscored the Sabres 6-1 in two games last week.

The series is playing out for the Penguins much like the second round against Philadelphia last year, when they won twice on the road, only to lose the next two games at home. They never won again in the series.

Any emotional lift Pittsburgh got from NHL scoring champion Jaromir Jagr's return from a two-game layoff with a sprained right shoulder ended with Dumont's early goal, and Jagr did not supply the offensive jolt the Penguins hoped for.

Jagr skated freely, but had trouble controlling the puck when closely covered and didn't have any good scoring chances - registering one shot on goal. Mario Lemieux, who didn't record a shot, also went without a goal for the second consecutive game. He did, however, assist on both Pittsburgh goals.

The Sabres twice took one-goal leads with the help of Pittsburgh defensive mistakes, but the Penguins answered each time until yet another dominating Buffalo third period.

Dumont gave Buffalo a lead it never lost, swinging the puck out from behind the net and putting a seemingly harmless shot toward the side of the net that slid under Johan Hedberg's stick. Hedberg came in with a 1.52 goals against average that was the best in the playoffs.

However, Alexei Zhitnik was called for cross-checking Rene Corbet in front of the net at the end of a play. Straka capitalized by one-timing Lemieux's pass under Hasek's stick from the blue line at 9:10 of the first - only the second Penguins power-play goal in 15 chances in the series.

Zhitnik put Pittsburgh on the power play again late in the period, but it was the Sabres who wound up scoring. Alexei Kovalev's pass was picked off in the neutral zone, allowing Curtis Brown and Miroslav Satan to work a 2-on-1 break that ended with Brown's fourth goal of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh tied it at 2 with the only goal of the second period, Janne Laukkanen's long wrist shot from the left circle at 5:24 with the teams skating 4-on-4 and Lemieux screening Hasek.

Notes:

Straka was only 1-for-3 on penalty shots during the season. It was the fourth penalty shot in Penguins playoff history, and the third misfire. The only goal was by Jagr against the Rangers on May 11, 1992. ... The Penguins have lost six of their last eight home playoff games and have dropped six consecutive Game 4s. ... Buffalo is 4-1 on the road in the playoffs.



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