Saturday, December 19, 2009

Game #36 - at Buffalo Sabres

Game 36
Penguins (24-10-1, 49 pts) at Sabres (21-10-2, 44 pts)

The offensive cornerstones of the Sabres. They all came into the league at roughly the same time and they're all excellent. These are from the Parkhurst 05-06 set.

Why does it matter?
It's a measuring stick against another top competitor in the East. The Sabres are right there with the Devils and Capitals so far this season.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Four wins in a row, Fleury is playing really well and the power play is showing signs of life. Can this team get better still?
  • Sabres - Two words - Ryan Miller. He has been outstanding all year and is the primary reason for the Sabres success.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens get to Miller? They've had some success against him in the past, but he's playing on another level this year (much like Fleury).
  • Will the Sabres get burned by riding a hot goalie? What happens when he cools off a bit? They've allowed the fewest goals of anyone but Jersey in the East... but their shots against aren't very low. That says they're due to come down to earth a bit.
  • I'm still looking for a shut out from a Pens goalie. Can they get one? (this question is staying here until they do)
Keys to the game
  • Win the special teams battle (or, at least, don't lose it). The Sabres don't take many penalties, and they're really good lately on the PK at home. Their power play, however, leaves something to be desired.
  • Don't take them lightly. You'll see a bunch of names you don't recognize during the game tonight (Tyler Myers, Chris Butler) that play big minutes. These guys are successful.
  • Turn it into a track meet. The Sabres can't match the Pens offensive power, and lots of shots may be the only way to beat Miller.
  • If the Sabres start Lalime, then the task becomes a bit easier.

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