The Pittsburgh Penguins put on a good show tonight, but lost to the Buffalo Sabres 6-5 in a back and forth, offensive juggernaut of a game. The game, shown live over the internet, was accompanied here on NHLPens.com with live chat. Thanks to the fans who stopped by and participated in the live chat room during the game.
In the first period, the Buffalo Sabres put up the first two points against the Penguins on even strength goals from Vanek and Campbell at 1:26 and 12:50. The Penguins chipped one away from the Sabres lead on a power play goal by Sidney Crosby at 15:34, with assists from Evgeni Malkin and Colby Armstrong.
In the second period, it was the Penguins who struck first to even the score at 2 on an even strength goal by Jordan Staal at 5:37, with assists from Sidney Crosby and Mark Recchi. The Pens then struck again for their first lead of the game at 17:53 on a power play goal by Sidney Crosby, his second of the night, with assists from Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Whitney. The Sabres evened it back up at 3-apiece less than a minute later on a goal from Tallinder at 18:28.
In the third period, Pittsburgh again struck first on a nice power play goal from Ryan Malone at 2:32, with an assist from Erik Christensen. At 6:19, the Sabres tied it up at 4 on an even strength goal from Roy. Pittsburgh bought the lead back at 8:59 on an even strength goal by Erik Christensen, with assists from Ryan Malone and Ryan Whitney. But the Sabres came back to tie it yet again at 16:35 on an even strength goal from Zagrapan, and scored the game winner at 19:32 on an unassisted even strength goal by Roy. Evgeni Malkin slapped one in at the buzzer, in what would have been the game tying goal, but the clock had just expired less than a second before the puck went across the line and the goal was disallowed.
Sidney Crosby finished the night with two goals and an assist, and took a hard hit against the boards which sent him to the bench doubled over in pain for a shift. Evgeni Malkin had two assists and was phenomenal in the game tonight. He drew four of the five Sabres penalties, and was constantly making plays at both ends of the ice. Crosby picked up the second start of the game and Malkin the third star. The Penguins were again held to less than 50% on the faceoff (48%).
Penguins goaltender Dany Sabourin did not have a great outing, giving up 6 goals on 23 shots (0.739). He did have a few really good saves, and he really didn’t get any help at all from the Pens defense. In fact, the defense was largely ineffective in the game. Defenseman Darryl Sydor had an especially bad night, passing the puck directly to the Buffalo offense and then letting them skate into the zone and shoot right through his legs for the Sabres 5th goal. He was on the ice for 4 of 6 Sabres goals. Defenseman Kris Letang did not have an overly impressive game either, although he did put one heckuva shot in on goal from the point. Adam Hall left the game with a cut to the nose from a high stick late in the second period and did not return.
The Penguins travel to Buffalo for a rematch on Saturday night in their 6th and final game of the pre-season. The Penguins are looking to get some momentum in aadvance of the regular season start next week. The Pens offense made good strides, but their goaltending and defense didn’t gain any traction tonight. I anticipate Marc Andre Fleury will get the nod tomorrow, and hopefully the defense will do a little self assessment overnight.