PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 08: Tyler Kennedy #48 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Buffalo Sabres at Consol Energy Center on March 8, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Sabres 3-1. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The good thing about having back to back games is that if there is a really terrible game in the first half, the team has a chance to wash it all away with a redemption game in the second half. The Sabres have that chance as they turn around and travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins.
The Penguins have been playing as well as can be expected to start the season, registering at least one point in each of their first five games. After starting the season with a three game Western Canada road trip, the Pens returned home this week to defeat the Florida Panthers and then lost to Washington Capitals in overtime on Thursday night. The biggest storyline coming out of the Capitals game wasn't any on ice play, it was a fight between Aaron Asham and Jay Beagle:
With Sidney Crosby still out, the Penguins have shown they can play without him as Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin step up and lead the charge. A surprise player to see at the top of the scoresheet at the beginning of the season is James Neal. A career 25 goals/season scorer, Neal has the league lead in goals with four through five games this season. Thus far into the season, Neal appears to be living up to his potential, and trying to cash in on a new contract, for the Penguins and the Penguins are better for it. From our Penguins site, Pensburgh:
...the Pens' power play efficiency has been the highest when Neal has registered a point. Coincidence? Very possible, but I like to think not. Neal has been an unbelievable presence on the power play and after a sluggish start with the Penguins organization, he seems to have found his luck, and the net, more often than not.
Even with the poor showing on Friday night, the Sabres lineup shouldn't see any changes heading into this game. I would even expect Ryan Miller to get the start here as well even though the team is coming off a game last night. If history suggests anything though, the Sabres probably won't have much of a chance in this one. The Penguins are 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games against the Sabres.
Game time is 7:00 pm Eastern.