PITTSBURGH — Jeff Carter scored four goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in an 8-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.
It was Carter’s first NHL game with four goals and seventh hat trick. His last was March 29, 2018, when he was with the Los Angeles Kings.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, Kris Letang had two assists, and Tristan Jarry made 19 saves for Pittsburgh (36-16-3), which has won eight of 10. The Penguins, who have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, are first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, two points ahead of the second-place Washington Capitals.
Drake Caggiula scored twice, and Michael Houser allowed eight goals on 34 shots for Buffalo (15-33-7), which has lost five of seven.
The teams will play here again Saturday.
After Caggiula gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead with a snap shot at 2:45 of the first period, Carter scored two goals 1:42 apart to put the Penguins ahead.
Rasmus Ristolainen nearly denied Carter’s first goal, when a shot got past Houser before Ristolainen scooped it away as it crossed the goal line at 9:57 of the first. Play continued for 54 seconds before being stopped and it was ruled a goal after a review, tying the game 1-1.
Carter gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead with a one-timer on a power play at 11:39.
The teams combined for five goals in the first 7:25 of the second period.
Tage Thompson tapped a pass from Casey Mittelstadt through Jarry’s five-hole, tying it 2-2 at 3:32.
Carter put the Penguins on top 3-2 at 4:36, scoring on a rebound off a shot from Marcus Pettersson.
Caggiula tied it 3-3 on a wrist shot at 5:13.
Brian Dumoulin scored on a slap shot, putting the Penguins ahead 4-3 at 6:26.
Jared McCann made it 5-3 with a snap shot from the high slot at 7:25.
Carter scored on a backhand, for his fourth of the game, extending the lead to 6-3 at 3:02 of the third period.
Crosby deflected a shot from Letang to make it 7-3 at 6:25.
Jeff Skinner cut it to 7-4 with a power-play goal at 9:45.
Kasperi Kapanen scored on a snap shot at 13:05 for the 8-4 final.