NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, February 17th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (32-21-5) at Buffalo Sabres (28-22-8), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins make their second visit to
the city of Buffalo this season, but this upcoming matchup with the Sabres
will take place under more traditional surroundings.
The most recent encounter between these teams took place on New Year's Day and
was the first NHL game ever played outdoors in the United States. The Penguins
won the memorable occasion by a 2-1 score when second-year phenom Sidney
Crosby slipped the puck past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in the final round
of a shootout.
The game, dubbed "The Winter Classic", was played in front of a league-record
71,217 fans at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo
Bills. Snow fell throughout much of the contest and the temperature dropped
below 30 degrees during the contest's late stages.
Crosby won't be around for the rematch, as the superstar center is still
mending from a high ankle sprain that has kept him out of action since January
18. The Penguins have gone 6-4-2 without Crosby but could have used his
talents as of late, since the club has mustered only three goals in back-to-
back losses to Boston and Carolina.
After falling 2-1 at home to the Bruins on Wednesday, Pittsburgh yielded a
pair of third-period goals that were the difference in Thursday's 4-2 setback
to the Hurricanes at the RBC Center.
Dany Sabourin was solid in goal for the Penguins despite the loss, recording
42 saves on the evening. Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik had the goals for
Malkin has helped offset the loss of Crosby with a torrid stretch during the
month of February. The Russian sensation has racked up 17 points (6 goals, 11
assists) in seven games during the month and notched at least one point in
each of those outings.
Since the Winter Classic, Malkin has amassed 18 goals and 16 assists in 20
games and registered a point in all but two of those contests.
Pittsburgh will also be attempting to snap a three-game road losing streak and
brings a 15-11-2 season mark as the visitor into HSBC Arena.
The Sabres had vaulted back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference
by posting an 8-0-2 record over a 10-game stretch coming into Saturday's
tussle with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. However, Buffalo
was cooled down by the Blueshirts, who notched four goals over the first 12
1/2 minutes of play en route to a 5-1 rout.
Miller was yanked after the last of that four-goal barrage and stopped just 7-
of-11 shots before exiting. The usually steady netminder had gone 5-0-1 with a
1.76 goals against average in seven February starts prior to yesterday's rough
Thomas Vanek prevented the Sabres from being shut out when he scored on the
power play with 6:58 remaining.
Pittsburgh has won four of its last five games against Buffalo, including each
of the two encounters that took place earlier this season.
02/17 10:20:06 ET