DeSmith, Penguins Blank Sabres, 5-0

Kessel, Crosby make contributions in victory

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith makes a save during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — With Sidney Crosby at the very top of his game, the Pittsburgh Penguins are peaking at the right time.

Crosby contributed two assists and Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist to lead the Penguins to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Pittsburgh had three goals on the power play, dominating with the man advantage.

Brian Dumoulin, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bjugstad and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins, who have won six of seven and sit third in the Metropolitan Division.

Crosby helped open the scoring with a highlight-reel pass 6:40 into the second period. With Guentzel stationed in front of the Buffalo net, Guentzel fed Crosby inside the right circle. Crosby then fired cross-ice to Kessel inside the left circle, and he had an open net for his 24th goal of the season.

Crosby has 19 points in his last 10 games and he continued his dominant play against the Sabres. For his career, the star center has 61 points (20 goals, 41 assists) in 39 games versus Buffalo.

“I find myself saying the same thing — he’s just such a great player, he’s such an accomplished player,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “This is his favorite time of year and he’s shown an ability to elevate his game when the stakes are the highest, and he plays his best on the biggest stage and he’s done it time and time again. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s at the top of his game.”

Casey DeSmith, making his first start since Feb. 21, made 26 saves for his fourth career shutout.

“The team’s been playing awesome, obviously, and then they didn’t do anything different tonight,” DeSmith said. “They were great again. It was definitely a team shutout, team win.”

STARS 4, WILD 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz and Joel L’Esperance scored in a span of 2:22 early in the second period, and the Stars hung on to beat the Wild after Ben Bishop got hurt.

SENATORS 2, BLUES 0

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Anders Nilsson stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Senators beat the Blues. Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney scored to help Ottawa snap a three-game losing streak. The shutout was Nilsson’s sixth of his career.

JETS 4, BRUINS 3

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a win over Boston, handing the Bruins their third straight loss.

ISLANDERS 2

CANADIENS 1

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Anders Lee scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and Thomas Greiss stopped 33 shots as the Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens.

CAPITALS 5, FLYERS 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brett Connolly had two goals and an assist, Lars Eller had a goal and Carl Hagelin added two assists to help the Capitals beat the Flyers.

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