The game was probably a little closer than the final score and was wildly entertaining for most of the first 30 minutes, but a seven-minute stretch in the second period saw Pittsburgh beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi four times to put the game out of reach.
Elsewhere, the Montreal Canadiens took over first place in the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins thanks to a goal from Max Pacioretty and another great outing from goaltender Carey Price.
All the NHL Scores
Rangers 3, Sabres 2
Penguins 5, Sharks 1
Canadiens 2, Bruins 1
Blues 5, Lightning 1
Wild 4, Blackhawks 3
On Thursday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Which Stanley Cup contender will extend its winning streak: San Jose (six games) or Pittsburgh (four games)?
The Penguins, and in a big way. Evgeni Malkin has been a huge part of their offense over the past month and it was going to be interesting to see how they would respond without him against one of the best teams in the league. As it turns out, that Crosby guy was more able to handle things.
It's Montreal, and it was a great all-around effort for the Canadiens. Carey Price allowed just one goal and has now allowed two goals or fewer in nine straight games. He's been one of the best goalies in the league this season.
3. Will Henrik Lundqvist give up fewer than three goals?
Lundqvist was outstanding in his first start since signing his new seven-year contract extension and he was just four minutes away from a shutout when Tyler Ennis managed to get one past him late in the third period. The Sabres didn't challenge him much in the early part of the game, but when they started to come with a desperate push late when they were in catch-up mode Lundqvist was on top of his game.
4. Will Phil Kessel score for Toronto?
He did not score a goal, but he did add two assists, getting the helper on both of Nazem Kadri's goals in regulation. The Maple Leafs went on to win in overtime, 3-2, despite getting outshot, 50-24, at home. Just another day at the office for Toronto.
5. Will the Islanders snap their losing streak?
Oh no. No. No no no no no no no no. No. The Islanders on the losing end of a 5-1 decision in St. Louis and have now lost eight games in a row and 13 of their past 15. Their next three games are on the road at Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose. Just three of the best teams in the NHL. Good luck!
The one play or moment from Thursday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Max Pacioretty's hit from behind on Johnny Boychuk. First of all, the health of Boychuk is the primary concern. He was taken to a local hospital for observation and he was cleared to travel home with the team, which is a good sign. But what -- if anything -- will the NHL do as far as potential punishment to Pacioretty goes? He was given a two-minute minor for boarding during the game.
Stat of the Night
The Buffalo Sabres have scored 46 goals this season, the worst mark in the NHL. The second worst team has 64. The Sabres, at their current pace, would score 130 goals for the season. The NHL record for fewest goals in a season is 133 by the 1953-54 Chicago Blackhawks, and they only played 70 games.
Post to Post
- Your latest NHL power rankings are here.
- The pros and cons of long-term contracts like the one New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist signed this week.
- Smart and hard. Same words, different perceptions for Ken Hitchcock and Jack Capuano.
- Shane Doan: A true captain on and off the ice.