Buffalo Hopes to Bounce Back on Pittsburgh Trip

<em>Sabres Will Try to Make Leafs Defeat a One Game Loss</em>

Game 15

Buffalo Sabres (6-6-2) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (5-5-4)

Puck Drop: 7PM EST PPG Paints Arena Pittsburgh, PA


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Pittsburgh Penguins Blog: Pensburgh

Know Your Opponent

Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: (5-5-4)

Last Game: 6-1 Loss to Washington

Division Ranking: 7th in the Metropolitan Division

PP: 32nd (8.7%)

PK: 7th (86.1%)

What to Watch

1.   Can the Sabres Put the Loss to the Leafs Behind Them?

The Buffalo Sabres need to put last game’s crushing loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, when the team failed to keep the puck out of their net with 11.8 seconds left in the third period, in their rear view mirror. Take a page from the area’s other pro sports team and come out strong. Kick ass and take names. The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off a two game losing streak, most recently letting the Washington Capitals beat them 6-1 in DC. Go out there and wipe the smirk off Sid the Kid’s face and silence the sea of hostile Penguins fans.

The Sabres have shown a level of discipline under Coach Don Granato that has helped them win some games. The Pens will no doubt be angry and aggressive after their recent defeats and Buffalo has to match or exceed that aggression to win.

2.   The Sabres Need to Play 60 Minutes

I’ve mentioned before that the Sabres have to play 60 minutes of hockey, not 20, 40 or even 59. Too often Buffalo gets a lead, only to let their opponents keep the puck in their end of the ice most of the third period and tie or beat them when it really counts. The players have to do a better job of clearing the puck, block shooting lanes when their opponent has opportunities and not let up the offensive pressure when the Sabres get a lead. Hopefully they’ll learn from last game’s loss and not make the same mistake twice.

3.   Buffalo Favored to Win

According to LeBron Stopper of SportsJaw.com, the Sabres should prevail in a less than five goal game. The Penguins lost 6-3 to Ottawa and 6-1 to Washington, while Buffalo beat a tough Edmonton team led by Connor McDavid. Even though the Sabres did fall to the Leafs, they only lost by one point. Kayla Douglas of The Score.com also points out that Crosby, after recovering from wrist surgery and Covid protocols, has only played two games this season and has yet to score a point.

4. Will Crosby Get Away with Another Cheap Shot if Pittsburgh Starts Losing?

Early in the 3rd period of the Penguins-Capitals game, when Pittsburgh was down 5-1, captain Sidney Crosby threw Washington defenseman Martin Fehervary against the boards. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled Crosby won’t face any supplementary discipline for the hit. Will the league turn a blind eye if the captain does something similar during tonight’s game? It’s time for coaches and GMs to demand an end to the double standard for dirty hits, where certain teams and players are allowed to get away with unsportsmanlike conduct and others are not. The NHL already has a black eye covering up sexual assault with the Kyle Beach case. It’s time for the league to join the 21st century.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Rasmus Asplund

Drake Caggiula – Dylan Cozens – Vinnie Hinostroza

Brett Murray – Cody Eakin – Kyle Okposo

Anders Bjork – Artuu Ruotsalainen – John Hayden


Rasmus Dahlin - Mark Pysyk

Jacob Bryson – Colin Miller

Will Butcher – Robert Haag

Starting Goalie: Aaron Dell

Pittsburgh Penguins


Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker – Jeff Carter – Kasperi Kapanen

Danton Heinen – Evan Rodrigues – Dominik Simon

Zach Aston Reese – Teddy Blueger – Brock McGinn


Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang

Marcuss Pettersson – John Marino

Mike Matheson - Chad Ruhwedel

Starting Goalie: Tristan Jarry