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NHL on NBCSN: Sabres-Penguins, Sharks-Kings doubleheader

Jan 27, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Steve Ott AP

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET and the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings at the SAP Center at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s a doubleheader night on NBCSN and the night begins in Pittsburgh where Sidney Crosby and the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins host the league’s worst team in the Buffalo Sabres.

The Pens are coming off a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Stars. Shutting out Pittsburgh this season has been a rarity (it’s happened two other times) with how much Crosby and Chris Kunitz have produced (52 goals combined). Evgeni Malkin being third on the team in points behind those two goes to show how well things are clicking.

Pittsburgh is atop the East for a good reason and an integral part of that equation is how well Marc-Andre Fleury has played. With a .915 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average, he’s been strong this season. That said, things have cooled off a bit of late allowing nine goals in his past three games (two losses).

For the record, the last time the Pens lost two in row was Nov. 23 and 25 on the road to Boston and Montreal and they’ve won 21 of their past 27 games.

Don’t let the Sabres’ current status fool you though, this is a different team with Ted Nolan at the helm. The team plays a more sound defensive game and the Washington Capitals have said the Sabres will “put you to sleep” with their style of play.

After a miserable start to the season offensively, the Sabres have started scoring goals and are averaging over three goals per game in their past six games. They’ve gone just 1-3-2 in those games, however, and have seen the hot play from both Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth in goal cool off. They’ll be looking for Cody Hodgson to stay on a roll to lead the way.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Out west, any time the Sharks and Kings get together it’s going to be a good one. L.A. is 2-0-1 this season against San Jose.

source: Getty ImagesAll hasn’t been well of late for the Kings, however, as they’re winless in their past five games and have three wins in their past 15 games. Offense has been the problem as they’ve scored 28 goals in those 15 games. Scoring less than two per game is a good way to guarantee losses. All it’s meant lately is that Jonathan Quick or Martin Jones have had to stand on their head.

Now’s the time for Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Dustin Brown to step it up so Jeff Carter doesn’t have to do all the scoring.

Having to face off against the Sharks won’t help matters much. San Jose has won six in a row and 13 of their past 17. Joe Pavelski has been on fire of late with seven goals in his past five games. He’s second to Joe Thornton on the team in points and tops the Sharks in goals with 28.

With the Sharks able to score goals with seeming ease and the Kings struggling to do that, it’s not lining up well for L.A. to snap their losing streak. That said, these match-ups bring the best out of both teams.

  1. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Sharks-kings. Let’s go muthapuckas

  2. sjsharks66 - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Hope there is some payback on Brown for Hertl.

    • wtfkwp - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      There’s nothing to pay back, bitter nocal.

  3. jpelle82 - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    will be interested to see who they put out against the crosby line, he’s put up 10 pts in his last 5 games against the sabres…crosby seems to thrive against them in the tyler myers era…maybe nolan does his homework but i expect another strong bounceback game from the pens and the crosby line though.

    • basedrum777 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      I think he specifically plays well against Miller. I remember that being mentioned in prior broadcasts.

      • jpelle82 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        hence the need to matchup defensively as best as they can. nothing i’ve seen from myers tells me he’s the guy for the job. crosby just has to stay in close and work the boards which eliminates myers’ reach. he seems to just spin out of coverage on these taller guys, his low center of gravity keeps him on his feet and he leaves them trying to hold him up on the boards as the only defense. i expect a penalty or two drawn from myers if he’s on crosby all night.

  4. joey4id - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Kings are 3-5-2 in the last 10 games and have not won in the last 5 games, which included an OT loss. 0 – 4 in the last 4. Huge bounce back game for them. Sharks could hurt them real bad if the don’t go Canuck all over them. At this stage of the season nothing is more important than getting the 2 pts against a division rival. Certainly not retribution for a hit that was or wasn’t accidental. Could be a good hockey game to watch.

    • thesportsjudge - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Not to be a jerk, but when would it be less important than trying to get 2 points (against a division rival?) The last game of the season when no standings can change? There is always a risk of injury.

      • joey4id - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        October, November…. If you’re looking for retribution and you’re in the second half of the season, then hold off until the beginning of the next season. It’s called maturity and discipline.

      • thesportsjudge - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        2 points are worth the same in October/November as they are in March/April. 2 points.

      • joey4id - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        They are indeed.

  5. penguins87and71 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    I would like to see the Penguins give either Jayson Megna or Brian Gibbons a chance to play on the top line with Kunitz and Crosby.

    • basedrum777 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      They’re waiting for Beau’s return for him to go up to line 1 in place of Duper. Gibbons should get the shots in the meantime. He’s a headier player than Megna right now.

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