-Greeting from Pittsburgh. We're going to try to do a live blog while doing a regular office shift. So please pardon us if tonight's post is a little sloppy. And excuse us for doing this despite stating in this morning's post we wouldn't be doing a live blog. This was a very last minute decision on our end.
-Bob Errey mentions that Janne Pesonen will get some playing time with Evgeni Malkin tonight.
-John Curry and Ryan Miller are the starting goaltenders tonight.
-We are reminded that Brooks Oprik is from Buffalo. We don't think this will reach "R.J. Umberger is from Pittsburgh" levels, but we are somewhat concerned.
-Dan Potash interviews Brooks Orpik about being from Buffalo.
-Ruslan Fedotenko will sit in place of Pesonen. Hmmm. He's joined in the pressbox by Mark Eaton and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Tim Connolly, Nathan Paetsch and Andrew Peters are the Sabres' scratches.
-Paul "The Butcher" Alexander is up to his old tricks. Boston's David Krejci is apparently "Cragison." Chuck Kobasew is "Cobisaw."
-He does turn Mikko Koivu to "Koyvow" but corrects himself to "Koivu."
-The Sabres will wear their new "old" "fake" throwbacks:
-Paul Steigerwald already blames any potential problems Curry might have on a ceremony honoring Dave Andreychuk.
-FSN Pittsburgh shows us the lines Michel Therrien will used through the first 15 minutes:
19:48: Derek Roy comes up the left wing and blasts a slapper that misses the cage.
19:09: Matt Cookes pushes a puck on net that Miller easily knocks away.
18:20: Malkin makes two nifty moves to dodge a pair of checks.
17:42: Eric Godard gets involved with two Sabres in a conversation about Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's presidency. We think. Patrick Kaleta is sent to the penalty box for high sticking.
16:34: Roy pushes a wrister wide of the net.
16:06: Miller covers up a one-timer by Malkin.
15:46: Sykora rips a wrister from the right wing that Miller knocks away.
15:42: Kaleta's penalty expires.
15:15: Miller eats up a shot from the great Mike Zigomanis.
14:40: Thomas Vanek tries a wraparound but Kris Letang is there to chop it away.
14:26: Drew Stafford tosses a shot on net. Curry knocks it down and covers.
14:05: Malkin dishes a puck to Sykora who wrips a wrister from the slot wide of the net.
13:46: Curry eats up a re-direct from Jochen Hecht in the slot.
13:14: Mark Mancari knocks Hal Gill down behind the net.
12:58: Cooke lands a solid check on Clarke MacArthur.
12:49: Maxim Afinogenov flies downt he right wing and zips a wrister on net. Curry eats it up. Afinogenov chops at him for a rebound. No dice. Several of the Penguins, including Tyler Kennedy, take exception and give Afinogenov the business. Kaleta goes to the penalty box again. This time for roughing. Gill joins him for roughing as well. Four-on-four.
12:31: A shot by Miroslav Satan is deflected out of play.
11:21: Curry denies Hecht twice.
10:52: Miller absorbs a shot from Pascal Dupuis.
???: Our prediction of 15 minutes for the line combinations proves to be generous as Michel Therrien teams Malkin with Sidney Crosby again. (FSN Pittsburgh's clock has died.)
???: Cooke takes the puck off a cycle behind the net. He goes to the left of the cage and zips a slick pass to Kennedy in the crease and he's able to put it by a helpless Miller. That was a nice play, but it was the product of hard work. Penguins 1-0.
8:35: Afinogenov swoops behind the net and tosses the puck into the crease. Drew Stafford is there to put it by Curry. Orpik left Stafford alone in the crease to challenge Afinogenov. Somewhere, Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret is screaming his head off. Penguins 1, Sabres 1.
7:51: Alex Goligoski fires a wrister from the point that's off the mark. The rebound comes right to Satan near the cage and he rips a wrister that's off the mark.
7:12: Curry denies Paul Gaustad on a nice re-direct attempt.
6:21: A tired Goligoski tries to play a puck out of his own end and is hooked by Jason Pominville. The Penguins caught a break there. They were running around their own end on fumes.
5:38: Sykora dishes a pass to the left point to... no one.
4:21: Pominville's penalty expires without much of a threat from the Penguins.
3:54: The great Mike Zigomanis fires a pass to Dupuis that sends him off on a breakaway. Dupuis approaches the net, gets hooked from behind by Teppo Numminen and shoots to the stick side. Miller makes a save with his right leg. Numminen is sent off for two minutes.
3:06: Crosby rips a wrister from the left faceoff circle and it's blocked by a cluster of bodies.
2:27: Goligoski slides a pass to Malkin who blasts a one-timer that's off the mark.
2:21: Satan is sent off for hooking Jaroslav Spacek. Malkin is a little too casual in pursuing the puck to begin Satan's penalty.
1:52: Numminen's penalty expires. Buffalo will have a power play for 1:29.
1:08: A puck goes out of play. We have delay as a piece of broken glass is replaced. Errey and Paul Steigerwald recall loving memories of the Ottawa glass-changing crew. FSN Pittsburgh kills some time with a picture of Janne Pesonen's gold helmet which he wore in Finland last season.
0:33: Roy works his way towards the net and zips a wrister that misses the cage.
0:21: Satan's penalty expires.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Sabres 1.
-The Penguins had more than enough opportunities to take a lead that period and failed to cash in. Their power play is still an issue.
-The Penguins have a 12-11 edge in shots.
-Hecht leads the game with three shots.
-Dupuis and Letang lead the Penguins with two.
-The Penguins have a 13-7 advantage in faceoffs.
-The great Mike Zigomanis is 4-for-5.
-Crosby and Spacek each lead the game with 9:43 of ice time.
-Rob Scuderi, the great Mike Zigomanis and Tony Lydman lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Satan references Brett Hull's game-winning "goal" in the 1999 Stanley Cup final:
-Satan, by the way, has probably the least appropiate voice for someone who's name is Satan. He's a very soft-spoken individual.
19:01: Jordan Staal steals a puck and puts a shot on net from in tight. Miller is able to keep it out.
18:51: Curry denies Stafford but gives up a rebound. Orpik sweeps it away before a Sabre can jump on it.
18:45: Miller kicks out a wrister from Kennedy from the left wing.
17:05: FSN Pittsburgh shows some video clips of the "Aud" (AKA, the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium). It's in the process of being torn down.
16:40: Kaleta gets his third penalty as he runs Satan from behind into the corner. What a stupid penalty. Satan is lucky he didn't crash into the boards more violently. That's two minutes. That should be a five minute major.
16:08: Sabres captain Craig Rivet goes to the bench with an apparent leg injury.
15:12: Roy goes through the Penguins' defense, Malkin "defends" him with a hook. Roy goes in on net and is denied by Curry. Roy crashes into the net. Malkin is sent off for two minutes. Four-on-four for 32 seconds.
14:40: Kaleta's penalty expires. The Sabres will have a power play for 1:28.
13:48: Letang tosses a puck out of the Penguins' zone.
13:20: Staal carries the puck up ice and fires a wrister from the right point. Miller traps it against his chest.
13:12: Malkin's penalty expires.
12:41: Afinogenov works the puck into the crease and is denied by Curry.
12:02: Coming back from commercial, Potash mentions that seats and other goodies from the Aud are being auctioned off. He also speculates a similar thing could happen when Mellon Arena is closed. Errey tells us he wants an orange seat. We want this trash can from the press box:
11:45: Curry directs a shot away with his his blocker.
11:32: Curry covers a loose puck in his crease off a shot by Vanek from the left point.
10:59: Miller kicks out a shot by Crosby from the left wing.
10:06: Curry eats up a shot.
9:25: Orpik clobbers Daniel Paille with a check behind the net. Paille wasn't looking when he got hit. Orpik shouldn't have done that since Paille was away from the puck. A few Sabres try to jump Orpik but officials manage to hold everyone off. Orpik goes off for interference.
8:39: Hal Gill blocks a shot by Vanek.
8:32: Talbot rushes the net with the puck which gets poked away by Miller.
8:22: A shot by MacArthur is deflected out of play by Miller. Steigerwald informs us that was the Sabres' first power-play shot tonight. And we though the Penguins' power play was having issues.
7:39: It's not having problems now. Stafford take the puck int he corner, moves towards the net and is able to slide a backhanded pass to Gaustad in the slot. Gaustad mishandles it a bit but is able to push a shot by Curry's left foot. Sabres 2-1.
7:17: Curry turns away a slapper by Hecht.
7:05: Malkin hammers a loose puck from the slot. It misses the net but hits off the backboards. Crosby is Johnny-on-the-spot and is able to poke it behind Miller. He even tips the puck in the air and pokes it in to be sure. Some classy Sabres fan behind the glass makes a hand gesture to the Penguins' celebrating. Penguins 2, Sabres 2.
5:43: A wrister by MacArthur is deflected out of play by Letang.
4:41: Orpik rushes the net from the left wing and whiffs on a shot. Miller turns it away. Hecht is sent off for hooking Orpik.
4:20: Roy steals a puck off a bad pass by Goligoski. Letang is able to chase him down and steal the puck off him. Very impressive display by Letang.
3:50: Miller covers a puck in his crease.
3:41: Sykora snaps a wrister of a pass from Crosby. Miller covers it. Kennedy digs for it and is jumped by three Sabres.
3:38: Miller turns away a quicks shot right off the faceoff.
2:59: Crosby's wrister is wide of the net.
2:56: Kennedy gets away with a trip on Rivet. Terrible non-call. Even Kennedy thought it was a penalty.
2:47: Errey mentions Philippe Boucher has gone to the Penguins' locker room.
2:41: Hecht's penalty expires.
2:23: Gill is called for hooking Hecht. Errey mentions Boucher will not return to the game.
1:15: Pominville blasts a slapper. Curry kicks out the puck. Vanek has a big juicy rebound to punch into the empty cage but he hits the side of the cage. Franchise players are supposed to bury that.
1:09: Vanek finds something to do this stick and trips Letang.
0:56: Malkin steals the puck off Spacek in the neutral zone. Crosby takes it, fakes a slapper and zips a wrister though Miller's five hole. That's how a franchise player takes avantage of his scoring chances. Penguins 3-2.
0:29: This is tough to keep up with. Pominville is sent off for tripping.
0:20: Gill's penalty expires and the Penguins are on a five-on-three.
0:18: Crosby slides a pass from the corner to Letang who blasts a one-timer that Miller makes a fine save on.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Sabres 2.
-The Sabres gave the Penguins some chances and the Penguins finally took advantage of them.
-This game has been a bit sloppy, but it's been fun to watch. Lots of up and down action and plenty of shots on goal.
-The Penguins have a 27-22 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with five shots.
-Hecht and Stafford lead Buffalo with four.
-The Penguins are controlling faceoffs, 27-19.
-The great Mike Zigomanis is 7-for-10.
-Crosby leads the game with 17:35 of ice time.
-Spacek leads the Sabres with 15:26.
-Lydman leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Scuderi leads the game with three.
-Paul Alexander rebounds with a solid effort with the highlights in the second intermission.
-The Penguins will begin the third period with a two-man advantage on the power play for 54 seconds.
-Mike Yeo gets some facetime with his Secret Service Agent earpiece hanging on his shoulder:
19:21: Malkin rips a wrister wide of the net.
19:08: The first Buffalo penaltye spires. The Penguins will have a one-man advantage for 38 seconds.
18:27: Gaustad clears the puck and essentially kills the rest of Pominville's penalty. The Penguins needed at least one goal there.
16:49: Wow. There's the pretty-passing Buffalo team we remember. Roy moves the puck into the offensive zone and dishes it to Vanek on the right wing. Almost immediately he dishes it to Stafford on the left wing who easily deposits the puck behind an out of place by Curry. What a nice play. Penguins 3, Sabres 3.
14:54: Stafford tries to drag the puck by Goligoski but the Penguins' defenseman is able to poke it away.
14:33: Miller covers a puck that bounces into this crease.
14:00: Andrej Sekera bangs Dupuis to the ice with a solid check.
13:29: Kennedy sneaks a pass to Cooke near the net and Cooke directs it on net. Miller gloves it.
12:55: Malkin goes to his team's bench with what looks like a chest or shoulder injury.
11:17: The ever-dangerous Rob Scuderi slaps a shot from the right point that is off the mark.
10:43: Sykora blasts a slapper from the slot wide of the cage. He needs to get that on net.
10:08: Curry fights off a high shot by Mancari.
9:02: A shot by Satan sails over the cage.
8:35: Dupuis slides a loose puck wide of the net. Some get this team a shooter tutor!
7:45: Mancari drives a big one-timer on net. Curry comes up with a big glove save.
7:34: Sykora blasts a slapper from the slot. Lydman gets down to block it. Miller gloves the puck when it gets chopped into the air.
6:20: The great Mike Zigomanis dumps a puck into the Sabres' zone and gets dumped with a check at the red line.
5:30: Curry somehow keeps the game tied with a big glove on MacArthur in the slot.
5:02: Roy puts a backhander high of the cage.
4:37: Curry comes up huge again. Vanek has Curry dead to rights but the Penguins' goaltender stones him with the glove hand. The puck gets behind Curry but it fails to go over the red line. Officials review the play to see if it was a goal. The non-goal call on the ice is upheld.
3:51: Michel Therrien calls a time out to organize a Mario Cart tournament. We think.
3:35: Hecht misses the net with a shot.
3:24: The Sabres drive to the net and get one by Curry. Pominville snaps a pass into the crease. Gaustad drives to the cage and is able to drive it by Curry. Lindy Ruff calls a time out. Sabres 4-3.
3:04: Miller covers a loose puck in the crease and denies Crosby a chance at a goal.
1:56: Janne Pesonen steals a pass into the Penguins' slot.
1:00: Hecht takes the puck behind the net and kills time
0:35: Curry is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:13: Malkin drives a slapper wide of the net.
0:10: Talbot tries to dig and poke a puck in from the side. Offiicials blow the play dead. Crosby slams his stick off the side of the cage in anger.
0:00: End of game. Sabres 4, Penguins 3.
-The Penguins' difficulties on the power play finally came to haunt them. Against a team that likes to run and gun like the Sabres, you need to score whenever you can. The Sabres will take chances on offense and will give you scoring opportunities. You need to take them.
-We say this each and every time the Penguins fail to score on one, but anytime you have a two-man advantage, you need to get at least one goal. The opponent has so much ice to cover with just three men, you can't help but find a way to generate a goal.
-Curry was solid in his debut. He was left out to dry on a few of his goals. Give the Sabres credit, their last two goals were the results of some fine passing.
-Satan and Sykora are struggling. They're getting chances but they're failing to even get them on net most times. The Penguins are hoping for 25-30 goals with each of these guys and they're failing the team right now.
-Did anyone see Janne Pesonen? We're hardly blaming him for the loss, he's not that important to the Penguins. He just didn't do anything of note outside of a nice defensive play late.
-Philippe Boucher's injury hardly helped matters. Any long-term injury to him would obviously be somewhat of an issue.
-Buffalo ended up with a 32-30 lead in shots.
-Stafford and Crosby led the game with five shots each.
-Buffalo ended with a 36-32 lead in faceoffs.
-Clarke MacArthur was 6-for-8.
-Maxime Talbot was 4-for-5.
-Crosby led the game with 24:29 of ice time.
-Rivet led the Sabres with 22:46.
-Lydman had an impressive seven blocked shots.
-Orpik led the Penguins with four blocked shots.
-Crosby's two goals moved him past Randy Carlyle for 18th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Crosby now has 324 points to Carlyle's 323. Joe Mullen is in 17th place with 325 points.
-Malkin's two assists moved him past Jan Hrdina for 30th place on the franchise scoring list. Malkin now has 228 points to Hrdina's 227.