NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 11th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (20-8-2) at Buffalo Sabres (12-13-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Few teams have been able to hold the Penguins offense in
check during the club's 11-game winning streak. The Sabres may have come the
Pittsburgh tries to move one step closer to the longest win streak in club
history this evening when it visits Buffalo and HSBC Arena for the second time
in less than three weeks.
The Pens have averaged 3.5 goals-per-game over the second-longest win streak
in club history, six shy of their NHL-record 17-game run set during 1992-93,
but were held to just a single goal versus the Sabres on Nov. 24. However, it
was enough in a 1-0 victory thanks to Marc-Andre Fleury's first shutout of the
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby assisted on Pascal Dupuis' goal in that game,
part of his 17-game point streak that has featured 20 goals and 15 assists.
Crosby leads the NHL with 26 goals and 50 points.
Sabres goaltender and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller missed that
meeting with a groin injury, but figures to get the call tonight. Miller is
4-6-3 with a 3.22 goals-against average in his career versus the Penguins,
while Crosby has 10 goals and 14 assists in 19 games when facing the Sabres.
"I think we practice a lot of things that apply to every goalie, and I think
it's important not to have to change or adjust too much," Crosby told
Pittsburgh's website. "We know [Miller's] good. If anything, that should make
us focus more on getting pucks and traffic to the net and making sure we
execute well when we get a chance."
Crosby, who is two games shy of the longest point streak of his career, scored
twice in Pittsburgh's most recent victory, a 5-2 triumph over Toronto on
Wednesday, giving him eight goals in the Pens' last four games. Mark Letestu
also scored twice, while Chris Kunitz had three assists.
Fleury had to make 23 stops to earn the victory, his 10th in a row. He is
7-3-2 with a 2.78 GAA in his career versus Buffalo.
The Penguins have not lost in regulation since Nov. 10, going 13-0-1 in their
last 14 games. They have won their last three without forward Evgeni Malkin,
who is questionable with a knee injury. Pittsburgh has also won six straight
on the road and is 10-3-1 as the guest this season.
The Penguins' win earlier this year versus the Sabres was their third straight
and 10th in their last 13 meetings with the club. Pittsburgh has also won six
of its last eight in western New York.
Buffalo has won four of its last six overall and picked up its third straight
home victory in Thursday's 6-3 triumph over San Jose. Paul Gaustad, Thomas
Vanek and Jason Pominville built the Sabres a 3-0 lead and both Gaustad and
Vanek ended with two goals.
"We started a little slow. There was a little bit of pause in our game," said
Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff. "But I thought when we really started to ramp
up ... and get guys driving ahead of people, I thought we did a nice job."
Cody McCormick ended with a goal and two helpers, Gaustad had an assist and
Miller made 26 saves in the victory.
Buffalo won the opener of a three-game homestand and is 6-8-1 as the host this
12/11 10:32:36 ET