By Mike Harrington
Greetings from high atop First Niagara Center as we get set for today's Sabres-Penguins matinee. It's a 12:30 faceoff on NBC. Will the Sabres parlay any momentum from Friday night's third period against the Bruins? Will the Penguins continue to dominate on the road, where they lead the East with seven wins? Those are my two quick questions this morning.
Be sure to join me in a new thread on the Edge at 12:30 for our live game blog -- and have your questions and comments ready in the second intermission for another Sabres FlashChat.
Today's game is the opener of Hockey Day in America and will be followed at 3:30 by the Kings at the Blackhawks on NBC and the Capitals at the Rangers at 6 on the NBC Sports Network.
Gord Miller, the TSN veteran renowned for his work on on the World Junior Championships, will be doing today's play-by-play and former NHL defenseman and longtime MSG analyst Joe Micheletti will be the inside-the-glass man. Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray will be doing radio only today on WGR.
Some quick numbers to ponder:
Vs. Pittsburgh: The Sabres are just 2-8-0 in their last 10 against the Pens.
Power play: The Penguins are third overall (27.6 percent) and are fourth on the road (28.6) but lead the NHL with 10 road power-play goals. The Sabres are 26th overall (12.7) but are ninth at home (24.0) and 29th on the road (1-30, 3.3. Yikes).
The Penguins have scored at least one PP goal in the last seven games and are 10 for 27 (37 percent) in that stretch. The Sabres, meanwhile, are on a brutal stretch. They're 0 for 12 in their last four games and 1 for 30 in their last eight. Ouch.
And there's this: Pittsburgh went 6 for 14 on the PP vs. the Sabres last season while killing all 10 Buffalo power plays.
Sidney Crosby: No. 87 is as good as ever. He's got an NHL-high 15 points since Jan. 31 (3-12-15) and is tied for second in the league with 21 points, two behind Thomas Vanek. Others at 21 are Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis. Crosby has a point in 13 straight games against Buffalo, posting seven goals and 13 assists in that span. He's got 7 goals and 10 assists in 12 career games at FNC, with a point in every one.
Goals: The Penguins are second in the NHL with a +13 differential. Their second in the league in third-period goals with 19 (the Sabres are tied for third with 17). The Sabres lead the league in goals against in the second period (25) and in the second and third combined (39).
Ryan Miller: He's just 5-10-3 vs. Pittsburgh with a 3.40 GAA and .881 save percentage, his worst numbers against any team. And I don't need to tell you his history against No. 87. But Miller has saved the Sabres' bacon all year -- and has a .944 save percentage in the last four games, stopping 136 of 144 shots.
taggedPittsburgh Penguins | Statistics