Crosby has 5 assists in Penguins' rout of Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't need long to extend their mastery of the Buffalo Sabres.
Crosby's first of five assists came 1:21 into the first period, and Pittsburgh pushed its season-high winning streak to seven games with a 6-1 win over Buffalo on Saturday night.
''They played last night, and we know what it's like playing back-to-back games,'' Crosby said. ''If you can get a couple goals and get them down early, hopefully that helps.''
Crosby recorded a point against the Sabres for the 19th consecutive game, and the Penguins haven't lost to Buffalo since April 2013, a span of five games.
''I don't really have a great explanation for you,'' Crosby said. ''When I come here, for some reason the ice has always been good, and I feel good that way.''
Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang had two goals each for the Penguins, and Evgeni Malkin and Roberto Bortuzzo also scored. Letang and Chris Kunitz both added two assists.
The Penguins jumped on Buffalo for two goals in the game's first 3:31.
''We didn't want to give Buffalo any hope early, and I thought we took that away from them in the first 10 minutes,'' Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.
Zemgus Girgensons scored the only goal for the Sabres, who lost their third straight, all at home, and fell to an NHL-worst 3-11-2.
Crosby earned another assist during a power play when Letang fired a slap shot that Hornqvist deflected past Jhonas Enroth at 3:30.
The home crowd gave a sarcastic cheer when Tyler Myers came out of the penalty box and recorded Buffalo's first shot on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at 13:24.
''The only thing we have control over is put them on the ice,'' Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. ''We can't skate for them, we can't shoot for them, we can't compete for them. It's one of those things. They have to compete, they have to work.''
The Penguins were ready to work, too.
Letang scored his second goal with a point shot at 15:04, with help from Crosby, who picked up his third assist of the period.
Pittsburgh stretched its lead to 4-0 while Buffalo's Drew Stafford served a slashing penalty. Hornqvist moved into the right circle and took a pass from Kunitz to beat Enroth over the right shoulder at 4:56 of the second period.
''Your effort level and your compete level has to be there, so I think we give ourselves a chance to create things when we're working hard and competing,'' Crosby said.
Fleury wasn't called upon much - Buffalo managed only just 20 shots for the game - but he responded by making a glove save when Matt Moulson was left alone in the slot.
Bortuzzo made it 5-0 when he was allowed to skate around the slot and lift the puck over a prone Enroth at 14:01.
Girgensons ended Fleury's shutout bid with 3:08 left in the second with a deflection of Josh Gorges' shot.
Malkin restored Pittsburgh's five-goal lead when he scored at 19:45 of the second.
''To get scored on that many times, it's embarrassing,'' Gorges said. ''I'm embarrassed for myself. I've got to do way better than that. That's all there is to it.''
NOTES: It was Crosby's first five-assist game since March 10, 2013. ... Enroth made 33 saves in the loss.