PITTSBURGH -- I wish television commercials were 32 seconds long instead of 30, that way y'all could hear Enterprise Rent-A-Car's full slogan.
"Pick Enterprise. We'll pick you up. Just so we can repeatedly let you down."
I've often referred to Enterprise as the Genny Light of car rental places. They do the job in the end, but there are so many better options (though a lot of my friends in Blasdell would disagree with the beer statement). Anyway, once again they failed to be as good as National or Alamo on this trip. I didn't even make it to the Hamburg toll booth before I ran out of windshield washer fluid. Yeah, who needs that on salt- and slush-filled roads?
The "good thing," I guess, was as usual the car barely had any gas in it (another Enterprise specialty). I soon had to stop to fill up so at least that way I could buy some solvent.
I so wish there was a better company near my house, but it doesn't make sense to drive out to the airport and pay for parking just to get a real rental place. Oh well, at least The News pays for it. I'd be furious if I had to.
Along the car line, you know that new-car smell? The Consol Energy Center has it. This place is unreal, and it smells brand new, unlike the 1960s musk that permeated Mellon Arena.
And if I was a marquee free agent, I'd sign here. They treat the players like gold. The dressing room area has bubble hockey (not that that's a huge deal since I also do at my house), but they also have a chef who whips up freshly prepared eggs and breakfast for the players. I almost ordered some Eggs Benedict between chats with Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson (Cheap Plug: See Saturday's Sabres notebook for some fun stuff from Johnson).
Well, I guess it's back to hockey soon, though I'm also on the lookout for Terry Pegula in the building.
6:57 p.m.: Pegula is indeed in the building. He is in a suite sitting next to and chatting with Larry Quinn.
7:09 p.m.: The Sabres score just 17 seconds in with Pegula watching from the front row of a suite. Marc-Andre Fleury got his pad on Paul Gaustad's point-blank backhand, but the center sent the rebound into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
7:15 p.m.: Matt Cooke, who started the Johnson-DiPietro brawl by colliding with the Isles goalie, mixes it up with Ryan Miller with 15:30 left. Miller tripped him in the crease, and Cooke got up and slashed the goalie on the lower left pad.
7:19 p.m.: Mike Grier scores for the first time in 33 games to give Buffalo a 2-0 elad with 12:57 to go. He carried the puck from behind the net to the front, and his attempt through the top of the crease struck the skate of Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland and went in.
7:26 p.m.: Sabres hit the second commercial break with a 2-0 lead and 6-4 shot edge with 9:04 to go.
7:32 p.m.: There are 17 people in the Pegula/Quinn suite, included the minority owner and the soon-to-be owner.
7:36 p.m.: Mike Weber went after Sidney Crosby in the previous meeting, and he shoves with Evgeni Malkin in this one with 4:26 left. Not sure if he's meeting Mario Lemieux in the parking lot next.
7:42 p.m.: Jochen Hecht gets called for high-sticking with 38.3 seconds left.
7:43 p.m.: Sabres hit intermission with a 2-0 lead. Pens have a 14-10 shot edge.
8:01 p.m.: An attempt to chat with Pegula at his suite was unsuccesful. Enjoy the game, folks.
8:02 p.m.: Malkin helped off the ice after awkwardly hitting boards after check by Tyler Myers with 19:33 to go.
8:08 p.m.: The Penguins cut their deficit to 2-1 with 16:10 left. Miller stops Dustin Jeffrey's backhand, but the carom strikes the skate of backchecking Tim Connolly and goes in the net.
8:09 p.m.: Myers heads to the box with 15:50 to go.
8:14 p.m.: About 30 seconds after Kris Letang beats Miller gloveside from the right circle but rings the post, Tyler Kennedy takes the same shot and ties the game, 2-2, with 13:36 to go.
8:21 p.m.: You had to see this coming because the Sabres don't handle adversity well. Penguins have a 3-2 lead and coach Lindy Ruff has called timeout with 12:56 to go. Matt Cooke took a pass from Jordan Staal, beat Andrej Sekera to the crease and put a high backhand past Miller.
8:26 p.m.: Cooke in the middle of another incident as Jordan Leopold gets called for holding Kennedy, and Cooke hammers Leopold from behind. Steve Montador then jumps Cooke with 9:41 to go.
8:30 p.m.: Malkin will not return with a lower-body injury.
8:31 p.m.: Letang gets two minutes for goalie interference after barreling into Miller with 8:50 to go.
8:35 p.m.: The penalty parade continues as Shaone Morrisonn gets called for cross-checking with 5:55 to go. It's still 3-2, and the Pens have a 29-13 shot edge.
8:46 p.m.: Sabres limp into intermission with a 3-2 deficit and 31-16 shot disadvantage. Pens take 17 of 23 shots in period.
9:03 p.m.: The Pens are 22-3 when leading after two, and the Sabres are 2-18-1 when trailing after 40 minutes.
9:11 p.m.: Pens still have 3-2 lead with 13:55 to go. Fleury has stopped two Thomas Vanek attempts.
9:18 p.m.: Pens still have 3-2 lead with 9:41 to go. Pens hold 37-22 shot advantage.
9:21 p.m.: Tyler Ennis heads to the box for high-sticking with 8:54 left.
9:27 p.m.: Final commercial comes with Pens still up, 3-2.
9:34 p.m.: Penguins win, 3-2, to snap the Sabres' two-game winning streak. Buffalo has yet to win three games in a row this season.