The last two games the Sabres have played in front of a national audience, the Sabres have played some of the best hockey of the season. The first came against the Boston Bruins on February 8th, where the Sabres beat the Bruins 6-0. Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was pulled in the 2nd period after allowing three goals on 10 shots and the Sabres just consistently kept the pressure up the entire game.
Remember that quick preview, because it might seem familiar.
The Sabres got the scoring started quickly against the Penguins as Jason Pominville scored at the 52 second mark of the 1st period. The goal started when Derek Roy put the puck on net and after a shot from Tyler Myers, Jason Pominville was able jam the puck in off the subsequent rebounds. Derek Roy scored his first of two goals 4:16 into the first period in a goal that has to be seen:
Overall, it appeared that the Sabres had more jump after having Saturday off. Buffalo took advantage of a tired Penguins and finished the first period outshooting the Penguins 10-7 in that period.
The second period started much like the first period did as Paul Gaustad found the back of the net at the 2:52 mark of the period. For starting goaltender Brent Johnson, that was his cue to leave. Johnson left the game after that third goal making nine saves on twelve shots. After Marc-Andre Fleury came into the game, the Penguins responded with their first goal of the game. Derek Engelland ripped a shot from the blue line past Ryan Miller for his third goal of the season.
For the Sabres, the third period was their chance to capitalize. After the Penguins brought the game to within one goal on a Jordan Staal power play goal, Drew Stafford started Buffalo's three goal period with a wrap-around effort 1:05 after Staal's goal. Derek Roy scored a shorthanded goal and Tyler Ennis bounced a puck out of the air and to himself for the Sabres sixth goal of the game.
Ryan Miller made 24 saves on 26 shots and overall looked on top of his game, especially in the 2nd period on an Evgeni Malkin breakaway. Marc-Andre Fleury finished the game with nine saves on 12 shots, pretty much the exact stat line as his counterpart.
More player specific thoughts after the jump.
- Derek Roy had his best game of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a two goal effort. It is the first time since November 8th vs. Winnipeg that Roy had a two goal game. Roy finished the game with two goals and an assist and was a +4 on the night as well.
- Patrick Kaleta and Paul Gaustad had impressive games as they were second and third among the Sabres forwards in ice time. They were matched up against the Evgeni Malkin line for most of the night and even contributed a bunch of scoring chances and a goal. The third member of that line, Nathan Gerbe, could have had one of the easiest goals of his career as Patrick Kaleta deked out Fleury and made a perfect pass to Gerbe who had a wide open net. Unfortunately, Gerbe rang the shot off the post.
- Andrej Sekera was fairly quiet on the night, but I feel obliged to mention him because it is the second game in a row where he has made some impressive stick handling moves to create scoring chances. Sekera did finish the night as a +1 and has quietly been one of the better defensemen in the last few games.
The Sabres will take on the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.