Pittsburgh Penguins (17-15-6, 40 pts) at Buffalo Sabres (29-8-3, 61 pts)
I think the words for tonight are "Litmus Test". The Sabres are simply lethal. There is no discernible weakness in their game. They out score everyone. Their defense isn't much better than average (13th in goals allowed per game) and their special teams are also about average (17th on the power play and 14th on the penalty kill). They simply beat people up at even strength. They also haven't been taking as many penalties lately, which obviously helps.
To make matters worse, they are 7-6-1 in the own division. Playing teams from outside the division (like the Pens), they are 22-2-2!! Ugh.
The Pens will have to play their best game of the year tonight to win. They'll need to out work the Sabres at even strength all night long, and get some timely scoring on the power play. Fortunately, they're coming off a few great performances, so we'll get to see how much they've learned.
Sabres blog - check out the game preview from the Buffalo perspective at BfloBlog.
I'm looking for the Pens to manage a point tonight in a tightly played game, provided they don't get down early to the lethal Sabres offense.
Let's Go Pens!