Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Every point matters!

By: MF, 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back at Consol Energy Center after a weekend of winning (Saturday at Detroit Red Wings and Sunday at New York Rangers) to battle the Buffalo Sabres. The Penguins are 8-1 in their last nine games and have won their last eight games versus the Sabres.

Tonight, the Penguins will once again be without the services of two strong defensemen. Brian Dumoulin is still day-to-day, and Olli Maatta is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. The team will have to play smart and not skip out on their defensive duties as a team. Even though they have been coming out with wins, Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS) is not liking the slow starts. He wants to turn that around tonight and set the tone to start the game. This will also help the defense as it will give them a little breathing room instead of getting hammered at the beginning.

At the morning skate, the lines stayed the same, but the power-play saw some change. It will be interesting to see if any of the tweaks produce results. Also, tonight Marc-Andre Fleury will be getting a night off, and Matt Murray will get the nod. He is 4-2-1 on the season with a .935 save percentage and a 1.85 goals-against average.

On offense, Phil Kessel has been heating up and is the third star of the week for the National Hockey League (NHL). He has reached 50 points in the season for the eighth straight season and achieved his first five-point game in his career during Saturday’s game against the Red Wings. He also reached 300 NHL career assists. Furthermore, Sidney Crosby is leading the way for the team and scored the overtime goal to give the Penguins the win against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It was the eighth overtime winning goal for Crosby, which puts him in fourth in team history books. It was also his eighth game-winning goal on the season, which ties him for second in the NHL. Crosby’s numbers against the Sabres are nothing to joke about as he has notched 14 goals, 34 assists, and 48 points in 30 career games against them. Look for him to be a key in the Penguins getting the win.

As for the defense, Kris Letang and Trevor Daley have been leading the way with the defense suffering major injuries. Letang recorded 61:37 minutes on the ice and three points over the weekend. While Daley recorded 55:53 minutes on ice and two points during the same span. The team is 40-18-7 with Letang in the lineup and are 27-14-5 when Daley plays. To say the least, they are key to the Penguins success.

The Penguins have to get on the board early, play smart, and keep up the pressure. They cannot afford to lay back as the end of the season is approaching, and every point matters. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz – Crosby – Hornqvist
Hagelin – Bonino – Kessel
Kuhnhackl – Cullen – Rust

Sheary – Fehr – Bennett 

Daley - Letang
Pouliot - Lovejoy
Cole - Schultz 

Murray in the net! 

Play by Play
PENS 5 Sabres 4 SO



Murray gets a piece of Eichel's shot with his glove to direct it wide!


Murray makes the save on O'Reilly!

Crosby is denied.

0:00 - Well now a shootout will decide things.

0:28 - Murray makes a huge save on Eichel who had a breakaway chance!

0:38 - Hagelin fires one that is gloved up by Johnson.

1:17 - Letang with a great defensive play and he is very tired.

2:47 - Sabres control once again, but Murray is up to the task!

3:55 - Sabres get a 2 on 1 chance, but Murray shuts them down!

5:00 - Overtime is underway! The Pens need to use their speed and skill to end this one early! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00 - We are headed to overtime as things are still tied at four.

1:33 - The Pens get some extended time in the offensive zone, but can't put one in. Sabres go the other way and Murray makes a huge save.

3:29 - Couple of tired players on the ice for the Pens as Cole ices the puck.

5:16 - Letang joins the rush, but his shot ends up breaking his stick. Nice thought though.

7:49 - The shooting mindset for the Pens seems to have gone away a bit as they are looking for the perfect play instead.

10:12 - Murray is going to have to stay sharp as the period whines down and things stay tied.

12:05 - The goalies are in a heated battle right now as both teams push.

14:00 - Kessel comes flying down the wing with a jump on the defense, but Johnson comes out to cut down the angle and rob Kessel!

14:37 - Sheary makes an unreal pass from the corner, while battling for the puck, to Bennett. Johnson is just able to get the pad out for the save.

17:20 - Murray makes an incredible glove save as Gionta outlets a pass from behind the net to Foligno in front. Murray shuts it down!

17:47 - Bogosian scores on the power play. Larssson makes a pass through the center of the Pens' zone to Bogosian, who doesn't miss. 4-4 tie game

19:34 - Lovejoy is off to the box for holding. Penalty kill time for the Pens.

20:00 - The guys are back on the ice for the third! The Pens need to keep up the hard work and not let up on the Sabres! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period comes to a close and the Pens gain the 4-3 lead over the Sabres!

0:05 - Sabres power play ends.

0:48 - BONINO SCORES A SHORTY! Hagelin goes behind the net to force Johnson to play the puck! Hagelin gains control and passes to Bonino in front! Bonino puts it in the wide open net! 4-3 Pens

1:13 - KUHNHACKL SCORES A SHORTY! Letang sends the puck up! Cullen and Kuhnhackl get a 2 on 1 chance! Cullen waits for Ristolainen to turn over his stick! When he does, he passes over to Kuhnhackl who puts it in! 3-3 tie game

2:05 - Now the Sabres are getting a power play as Fehr is called for tripping. Big penalty kill for the Pens.

3:46 - Sabres kill off the Pens' power play. Kessel had the best chance, but Johnson robs him.

5:46 - Pens head onto the power play as Fasching sits for hooking.

7:36 - Bennett has a open net chance after Johnson bobbles the puck when he comes out to play it, but it is blocked.

10:41 - Hornqvist rings one off the crossbar! The Pens are getting more physical and hammering the Sabres.

14:05 - SHEARY SCORES! Crosby is knocked down, but stays with it to keep the puck in the offensive zone! Sheary comes up with the bouncing puck and blows a shot past Johnson! 3-2 Sabres

16:44 - Great shift by the first line of the Pens following the goal. Johnson holds strong, but the Pens are starting to pressure more.

18:32 - LOVEJOY SCORES! The Pens get a three-man rush as Lovejoy jumps into the play! Rust makes a great cross pass to Lovejoy, who puts one past Johnson! 3-1 Sabres

19:08 - Kunitz and Ristolianen are set free.

20:00 - Time for the second period! We still have 52 seconds of 4 on 4 hockey! The Pens need to wake up, get traffic in front of Johnson, and get some goals on the board! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period horn sounds and the Pens are down 3-0 to the Sabres.

0:59 - McCabe scores. McCabe comes flying in all alone to receive a pass and put it past Murray. 3-0 Sabres

1:08 - Now time for some 4 on 4 hockey as Kunitz and Ristolainen sit for roughing.

1:32 - Shot mentally starting to take over the Pens as they are down by two.

2:41 - The Pens are not getting enough traffic on offense. When they do, Johnson on been on them. They have to get traffic in front and create second chances.

5:34 - Gorges is set free and the Pens power play is over.

5:55 - O'Reilly scores a shorthanded goal. Legwand gets the first shot that tickles through the five-hole of Murray, but Daley is able to save the day. However, the puck goes off Kessel's stick and back to the front of the net. O'Reilly puts in the loose puck. 2-0 Sabres

7:34 - Back onto the power play for the Pens as Gorges takes a seat for holding.

7:59 - The power play for the Pens comes to an end. Bonino gets a great chance in front, but isn't able to get it past Johnson.

9:59 - Now the Pens will get a crack at the power play as Fasching is sent to the box for hooking.

10:34 - Moulson scores on the power play. Moulson gets the big rebound off Murray's pad save and is able to control to put it into the open net. 1-0 Sabres

12:17 - The first power play will go to the Sabres as Hagelin takes a seat for hooking.

12:47 - Great fore-check by the Pens and it leading to a chance for Bennett up front, but Johnson is able to make a pad save.

13:50 - Crosby is once again feeling it tonight both on offense and defense. He is playing a strong defensive game.

16:05 - Rust gets a rush up the wing and fires one. Johnson makes the save. Letang also gets a chance on net.

17:52 - Sabres try to force the issue early. Murray makes a solid save and holds for the whistle.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens need to come out and get on the board early, play smart, and keep up the pressure! Every point matters! Lets Go Pens! 

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