Thursday, October 29, 2015

Let's stick it to the Sabres!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming back to Consol Energy Center after back-to-back wins to host Dan Bylsma’s (head coach) Buffalo Sabres. This game is the second of a back-to-back series for the Penguins. They got a 3-1 win in Washington after a hard fought battle against the Capitals. They are going to be a tired and bruised team, but they are ready to get back on the ice.

A highlight of last night’s game was the impressive performance of netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury. He made save after save and kept the Penguins in the game for the full 60 minutes. He was named the first star of the match. The team leaned on him for the majority of the game, and he stayed active in the net. However, tonight they will not have that luxury of leaning on him as Jeff Zatkoff will be between the pipes. Fleury will finally get a much-needed break after playing every game for the Penguins, since the start of the season. Zatkoff will make his season debut tonight.

The Penguins will have to step up their defensive play all around to aid Zatkoff. The front of the net must be clear to give Zatkoff a better eye line and get to loose pucks. Also, the offense needs to get going earlier and often. It would be great to see the big guys get on the board and get their scoring going.

Furthermore, a major problem that has yet to be solved is the power play for the Penguins. It is the worst power play in the National Hockey League (NHL), just have a glance at the numbers, they are horrendous. Such a sad, horrible power play by a team that is offensively devastating, at least on paper. Teams and goalies should shake in fear at the prospect of the Penguins power play, but that is not the case. The power play is a sad excuse for offense and makes one not want to joke about it.

What is Mike Johnston doing? Staring blankly into space behind the bench wondering, “What am I going to do for Halloween? Should I get with three bags of candy or more?”

He is apparently not thinking about the hockey game taking place right before his eyes. I hope things chance tonight, but I am afraid to find out. Maybe tonight is the night the power play opens up.

Onto the real statistics, the Sabres only have one road win this season, which came Tuesday night in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers. Moreover, the Penguins have won six-straight games against the Sabres. In the past two games, Phil Kessel has scored the game-winning goal. It is nice to see him getting some pucks in the net. Time for the Penguins to battle!

Lets Go Pens! 

Dupuis, Crosby, Hornqvist
Perron, Malkin, Kessel
Kunitz, Bonino, Sprong
Porter, Cullen, Bennett

Cole, Letang
Cole, Letang
Mattaa, Scuderi

Zatkoff between the pipes!

Play By Play
PENS 4 Sabres 3

3rd Period

0:36 - Porter fires a shot, but it goes off the goal post.

1:33 - Empty net for the Sabres. 6 on 4.

1:51 - Sabres get a late power play chance as Letang is called for delay of game.

2:26 - O'Reilly Scores. The puck bounces around the front and O'Reilly whips the puck into the goal. 4-3 Pens.

2:33 - Sabres have an empty net.

4:40 - Hornqvist blocks a shot and it hurt him as he labors back to the bench right afterwards.

6:24 - Zatkoff and Johnson have both made some quality save. Both teams are skating well.

9:43 - Franzon lays out Dupuis in the neutral zone, but he bounces right back up.

11:55 - A stoppage finally occurs and the refs review the no goal. The puck is still barely touching the red line and the call was good. It was so close though, too close for comfort.

13:35 - Zatkoff makes a big save, but the puck is sitting on the goal line. Letang gets it out of danger. It looks like the Sabres scored, but the ref waved it off as no goal.

15:47 - Not many stoppages in this period.

18:58 - Good start for both teams.

20:00 - Now time for the third period! Keep it up Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period ends and the Pens have retaken the lead 4-2 over the Sabres!

0:48 - The Pens with some fantastic plays against a physical Sabres team.

2:25 - Sabres crash the net and Zatkoff stands strong. The Pens clear the puck out of danger.

4:52 - MALKIN SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Kessel fires a shot that is saved! Hornqvist gets the puck loose, Malkin finds it and puts it past Johnson! 4-2 Pens!

5:52 - Weber knocks Hornqvist off balance, which sends him hard into the boards. Dangerous play by the Sabre defensemen. The Pens get a power play as a result.

7:42 - Zatkoff has made some good saves in the last few minutes.

11:42 - LOVEJOY SCORES! The Pens start up ice as Lovejoy is coming out of the box! Lovejoy's first shot is saved, but he follows it up to get the goal! 3-2 Pens!

11:54 - The Pens kill!

13:54 - Zatkoff makes a huge save, but the Sabres draw a penalty. Lovejoy off and Pens onto the penalty kill.

18:45 - Crosby's line is clicking tonight. Johnson has to make a scramble save to keep the puck out of his net.

20:00 - Second period time! The Pens have to come out with speed and take it to the laying back! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends and we are tied up at two a piece.

0:18 - Dupuis finds Crosby wide open in the slot area, but he fires a shot just wide of the net.

1:09 - Hornqvist makes a great move to get around a Sabre and goes to the backhand, but Johnson makes the save.

3:20 - Deslauriers Scores. The Pens turnover the puck once again and the Sabres take advantage. O'Reilly dishes the puck from behind the net to open Deslauriers. He directs one past Zatkoff. Things are tied at two.

5:35 - McGinn Scores. Ristolainen fires a shot from the point.. McGinn deflects it through the five-hole of Zatkoff. Sabres cut the Pens lead in half. 2-1 Pens.

6:41 - Zatkoff makes a nice glove save on Eichel

9:32 - The Penguins are moving the puck well, but the Sabres are still battling.

12:44 - HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby makes a beautiful dish pass through traffic and being surrounded by Sabres to Hornqvist! It is right in his wheel house and Johnson has no chance! 2-0 Pens!

13:48 - A nice tribute is played on the jumbotron for Bylsma and the crowd gives him a lengthy standing ovation.

14:21 - Bennett gets laid out on the boards, but is no worse for wear.

16:20 - Zatkoff makes his first save of the game. The puck goes right off of his goalie mask.

19:04 - DUPUIS SCORES! Crosby comes flying down the wing and fires a hard shot! Johnson makes the first save, but Dupuis gets the loose puck to jam it home! 1-0 Pens!

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens need to come out and get on the board earlier! No better way to welcome Bylsma back to Pittsburgh! Lets Go Pens! 

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