As I sit here writing this little game preview, which I have done for almost every game this year, a dark cloud hangs over my head. The same cloud that hangs over every Pittsburgh Penguin fan’s head. A feeling of dread and uncertainty follows us everywhere we go. All we think of are the possible playoff scenarios for our team and sadly one of them points to the end. I am one of the most loyal Penguin fans, like many others. No matter what, I will always cheer, support and defend my team. I have also tried to be more optimistic about this season and how things have progressed. I always look for that silver lining.
Now it all comes down to one game at the First Niagara Center against the Buffalo Sabres. If we win, then we clinch a playoff berth. Now as for the other scenarios: if we earn at least one point, then we need the Ottawa Senators to lose in regulation (playing at the Philadelphia Flyers) and the Boston Bruins to lose in any fashion (playing at the Tampa Bay Lightning). Now, worse case possible is the Penguins loss, which means that we need the Bruins to lose to make the playoffs. Instead of leaving our fate up to another team, let’s win this one at all cost!
It’s sad to think this could be the last game that I write about for the Penguins, this year (not counting the after review). I go into this with hope that my…I mean our Penguins, will come through. Many have already given up and maybe rightfully so, but I could never give up on this team. I know many things point to us being done for, however I will still hold till the last horn. I hope you will too, as I go into this game preview and get ready to watch the Penguins battle the Sabres.
It has been no secret that the Penguins have some serious fire power, but they haven’t been able to get contributions for the rest of the lineup. Their depth in offense and defense, for that matter, has not been shown in the last few games. The Penguins have won five consecutive games against the Sabres. They also have won four consecutive games at the Sabres home arena. As for one of the Penguins top forwards, Sidney Crosby has eight assists in two games against the Sabres. Crosby also had five assists on the November 8th against the Sabres. Crosby and Kris Letang are the only Penguin players who have five assist games, this season. Our Captain is tied for the National Hockey League (NHL) lead with John Tavares (New York Islanders) with 84 points apiece (Tavares holds the lead, since he has more goals). Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars) is close behind with 83 points. Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers) has 81 and Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) rounds up the top five with 80 points.
As for the Penguins defense, they have had a heavy workload lately without the services of both Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff. Now they Penguins are without the services of Derrick Pouliot, who didn’t play last night due to an injury. This has ramped up the time on ice for all defenders and put a heavy weight on their shoulders for every game. Another guy with some bigger responsible has been Marc-Andre Fleury, who was named the team’s MVP. He is tied for the league lead in shutouts at nine and has a career number high season, along with putting up making new franchise records.
Tonight’s game is a huge one, to say the least. So get your four-leaf clovers, horse shoes, rabbit feet, lucky pennies and whatever else you use for luck, and hold it close to your heart during the game tonight. We need have as much luck in our favor as we can get and hopefully the Penguins come through for not only us, but for Fleury! We both deserve a playoff run! Lets Go Pens!