The Pens swept the season series from the Sabres for the first time ever.
Great effort by the team despite being short handed. Get ready for the games to get much uglier as the Pens finish up with 11 of 12 games in their own division.
To the recap!
Things started out a bit slow until Kennedy was sprung on a breakaway. Watch the replay in the highlights - I have no idea how he managed to get the puck past the outstretched legs of Miller. When watching it on TV, I thought he mishandled the puck and didn't get off a shot, thanks in part to the bad camera work by FSN.
No one used the word "little" after Kennedy scored.
Immediately after that, Sykora, Malkin and Malone created some noise in the offensive zone.
FSN showed us the lines. Minard is on the fourth line. The over/under for his playing time is 2:41. [UPDATE - he played 3:17]
[At this point, I started flipping back and forth between the Pitt game and the Pens game.]
Three power plays (two for the Sabres, one for the Pens), but no goals. The Sabres really looked like they were sleep walking. Errey informed us that the Sabres wouldn't be allowed on the golf courses in Buffalo with the lack of effort they were showing.
I was a bit worried with only a 1-0 lead after one period. You have to make hay while the sun shines, and the Pens missed a few good chances.
Laraque took a really bad penalty, elbowing Paetsch in the chin. FSN didn't have any decent camera angles on it, but the ones they had didn't look very good. It looked like Big George pretty much tried to do exactly what he did, which is come across Paetsch's face / chin with his elbow in a pretty vicious maneuver. I'm hoping it wasn't as bad as it looked, but I wouldn't be surprised at a suspension.
The Pens not only killed off the major penalty, they went on the attack for the later part of it, drawing a penalty and scoring on the four on four. Sydor took a shot from the point that Taffe redirected nicely between the pads of Miller. It wasn't the nicest redirect that we'd see tonight.
Late in the period, after Bernier went off for tripping Conk, Gonchar wristed a puck that deflected off of Hecht and behind Miller. This was immediately after Steigy and Errey were talking about the Pens need to shoot with their first power play unit.
The Pens did their hay making during this period, taking advantage of their chances to build what looked like a dominating lead.
The Pens extended the lead to 4-0 when Malone lifted the stick of a Sabre in front of Miller, stole the puck, and shuffled it off to Sykora. Peter didn't miss the empty net, and we didn't miss his amazement at the play Malone made to get him the puck.
Just when you were feeling bad for the poor Sabres, they scored to make it 4-1. I figured it was time for a sympathy goal, and here it was.
The Pens went back on the power play, but the Sabres were the ones who scored, on a rocket shot by Paille, which found the six-hole (can we make that an official term now?) of Conklin.
Cutting the lead to just two goals was enough to make everyone a bit nervous. An implosion would be disastrous to the Pens need for points. Malkin decided that we didn't really need to worry. He redirected a Sydor shot / pass for the Pens third power play goal of the evening.
Chris Minard scored his first NHL goal on a great pass from Staal and promptly took his seat back on the bench. At least now he has a reason to smile for a few games.
Paille made things a bit interesting again when he brought the Sabres back to within three with just under 10 minutes remaining, but Letang got the seventh and final goal a little more than two minutes later. That was it.
- Malkin, Malone, Sykora and Gonchar all a -2. If you have anything to harp on about this game, that's it. Allowing the Sabres to get back in the game with a four goal lead in the third isn't good. The tone needs to be set from the top line.
- Malkin was a beast while killing the major penalty.
- Talk about distributed scoring - seven different guys scored goals tonight.
- The defense stepped up big time. Four of the goals were either scored by the D or were deflected shots from the blue line.