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Get your game notes: Penguins at Sabres

Feb 5, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 17: Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres makes a second period save against Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 17, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

This evening on NBCSN, it’s the Buffalo Sabres hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight’s matchup features the No. 1 team in the East against the conference’s basement dweller. Pittsburgh has gone 24-6-1 since Nov. 27 and has led the conference since taking over the top spot on Dec. 14. The Sabres, meanwhile, fell to 1-9-1 back on Oct. 23 and have brought up the rear in the standings ever since. Pittsburgh has more than double Buffalo’s point total (80-38).

• The game also pits the conference’s highest-scoring team (Penguins, 3.11 GPG) against the league’s lowest- scorers (Sabres, 1.84 GPG). Five Penguins have higher point totals that Buffalo’s leading scorer, Matt Moulson (33 points this season, 24 with Sabres).

• In spite of the low numbers, the Sabres’ output has been on an uptick recently. Buffalo has scored 3 or more goals 8 times over the last 11 games – something they’d done 10 times over their first 45 games. In this most recent 11-game stretch, C Cody Hodgson has scored 6 goals and D Christian Ehrhoff 9 points, while captain Steve Ott has 4 goals in his last 8 games.

• The Penguins lead the NHL in both power plays (24.9%) and penalty kill (87.7%). No team has finished a season atop the league in both categories since the 1984-85 Islanders.

Sidney Crosby has registered at least 1 point in 16 consecutive games against the Sabres, the longest active streak for any player against an NHL team. Crosby has 9 goals and 17 assists during the streak; he also has points in all 13 career games he has played in Buffalo. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Player | Opponent | Streak

Sidney Crosby, PIT Sabres 16

Steven Stamkos, TB WPG/ATL 13

Patrick Kane, CHI Oilers 12

Joe Thornton, SJ Avalanche 12

• Crosby, however, has been held without a point in each of the last two games. It has been more than 4 years since the Pittsburgh captain went 3 straight games without a point, since he had a 5-game drought from Oct. 31-Nov. 10, 2009. Crosby hasn’t scored a goal in 5 games and shares the team lead (27) with Chris Kunitz.

• Buffalo’s Ryan Miller (.925 save %, T-6th in NHL) will have one final “audition” tonight before coach Dan Bylsma, who will run the American bench in Sochi beginning next week. Since Bylsma took over in Pittsburgh during the 2008-09 season, Miller is 4-5-0 with a 3.65 GAA and .883 save% against his Pens.

James Neal’s overtime winner vs. Ottawa on Monday was his 18th goal and first in 9 games. Despite the dry spell, Neal remains among the league leaders in goals per game. (min. 20 games)

 Alex Ovechkin, Capitals 0.75

 Alex Steen, Blues 0.61

 Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs 0.52

 Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes 0.52

 James Neal, Penguins 0.51

 Joe Pavelski, Sharks 0.51

 • The last NHL games before the Olympic break will be played on Saturday, Feb. 8. The NHL’s Olympic roster freeze takes effect Friday and runs until Feb. 23, before the schedule resumes with Buffalo hosting Carolina on Feb. 25.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I give you credit for not calling it a ‘rivalry’ as was done in a similar story.

  2. JoeAvg - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Didn’t we just see this same article a week or so ago? Déjà vu all over again.

  3. gbories2014 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    A reblogué ceci sur dnslookupfr.

  4. muckleflugga - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    and the penguins likely lead the league in junk where junk is the by-word in the compressed space and closeting defensive systems of the east

    you’ve never saw a team collect as much close-in third hand leavings … caroms off bodies and sticks and iron … lucky bounces and fortuitous rebounds … has kunitz gotten anything from further than five feet away one is left to ask … ditto his holiness …?

    rarely does pittsburgh score off the rush or a systemized sequence of passing as do teams like chicago or detroit or edmonton or san jose, speed and finesse teams all

    in the present they’re simply a hard-skating board-crashing bunch of try-hards … bylsma hockey at its finest … hence; need to find another trigger man and an actual playmaker at the deadline … no

    penguins numbers look good in the regular season miasma while fattening-up on troubled and disorganized teams

    come playoffs when skill teams tighten it up, hard skating garbage pickers will find themselves on the outside looking in … yet again

    the discriminating penguins supporter [ i know i know ... in the same sentence lmao ] recognizes these failings and should be petitioning for change if a second round brooming is not due

    just over the horizon

    • jpelle82 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      oh where to begin…ah…nevermind

    • malkamania71 - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      hahahahahahahahahahaha this guy

    • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Ask Boston how garbage picking worked for them last year? I would argue being able to play in the rough areas (around the net, in the corners) is EXACTLY what works well in the playoffs. To call Crosby a garbage picker is laughable – while he does rack up goals from the inside, he can also shoot from the circles and can set up chances from anywhere on the ice.

      Also the characterization of Bylsma hockey as hard, skating and board crashing proves even further that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The Bylsma system is predicated on stretch passes and tips to get the puck deep, with off wings speeding up the side to chase down the puck, or with skilled defenseman carrying the puck to establish play in the offensive zone. Not exactly your 3 on 3 dump and chase action.

      But as many blind squirrels do – you have found a nut in this case, or at least part of one. The Pens DO need to add forward depth at the deadline. Their bottom six is an issue as they get no production and have no identity. Whether they go out and get a top 6 guy and let things trickle down, or add a bottom six guy directly, remains to be seen, But they do need to add something to that corps.

      I will say though, I enjoy the syntax and construct of your posts. It reads like an old man’s musings as he flows from topic to topic with the relaxed measured timing of a man who is in no hurry.

  5. penguins87and71 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    LETS GO PENS!!!!

  6. muckleflugga - Feb 5, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    steelpenbucs87

    time … the privilege of hard earned wealth

    • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Certainly. It wasn’t meant to be sarcastic. While I disagree with 90% of what you say I enjoy the way you put the comments together. It’s a welcome break from the norm.

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