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Penguins at Sabres - 02-19-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-First things first, EN reader @ is rocking the jersey of former Penguins and Sabres antagonist Matthew Barnaby on site in First Niagara Center today:

-This game is available on a regional basis. If you can not watch the game in your area, NBC Sports' Web site will offer a stream.

-EN commentor Mike7psu sends in a shot of warmups:

-He also sends in this peculiar jersey foul. Drew Doughty Kings throwback:

-The Penguins' starters are Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Brent Johnson.

-Their scratches are Tyler Kennedy, Ben Lovejoy and Cal O'Reilly.

-The Sabres' starters are Paul Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe, Patrick Kaleta, Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera and Ryan Miller.

-Their scratches are Marc-Andre Gragnani and Cody McCormick.

-Ryan Miller has some rough career numbers against the Sabres with a record of 4-9-3, a 3.46 goals against average and .879 save percentage.

-Brent Johnson's numbers against the Sabres aren't all that sharp either with a 6-4-0 record, 3.60 goals against average, and .873 save percentage.

-NBC's Gord Miller talks about a "mild" winter in Buffalo as we're treated to this "mild" shot of Buffalo:

-Apparently a camera or a light "exploded" according before the game during warm-ups over the Sabres' end of the ice. The Sabres had to  finish warm-ups in the Penguins' end of the ice while the glass was cleaned. Additionally, the Sabres had to have several of their players' skates re-sharpened due to the glass.

FIRST PERIOD

19:08: Another poor start for Johnson. Derek Roy flings a wrister towards the cage from the left wing wall. It hits the stick of Orpik in front and deflects to Tyler Myers in the right circle. Myers deals a pass to Jason Pominville down low to the left of the net. That was a fluky hop off the stick of Orpik which led to that. Regardless, Pominville had a hour to work with on that goal. Myers and Roy get assists. Sabres 1-0.

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(Solid goal song.)

18:16: Dupuis snaps off a wrister form the left circle which gets blocked. After the shot, he wiped out on a hit by Cranberry native Mike Weber.

15:54: Weber chops a loose puck from the left point. Dupuis backchecks and blocks the shot with his stick.

15:44: And the rough start continues. Derek Roy pushes the puck up the left wing, gets by Paul Martin at the blue line, twist the puck to his backhand against Orpik and flings a backhander from the left circle by the blocker of Johnson on the near side. Ugh. Johnson can't allow that goal. Period. Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff get assists. Sabres 2-0.

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14:00: On a delayed penalty, Kaleta whips a backhander on net from the left circle. It hits off the side of the net.

13:51: Matt Niskanen is called for high sticking Gerbe. It's not that difficutl to high stick that guy at 5-foot-5. Dupuis, Craig Adams, Orpik and Zbynek Michalek take the ice.

13:34: Pominville takes a pass on the left half wall and booms a one-timer wide of the cage.

12:34: Pominville has a wrister from the right circle. Michalek drops and blocks it.

12:19: Pominville tries to snap a pass through the crease from the right circle. Orpik blocks it and clears the puck down ice.

11:41: As Niskanen's minor expires, Staal pushes the puck up the right wing. Myers skates over to Staal and slides down. That forces Staal to shoot high. His wrister wails over the glove hand of Miller and clanks off the cross bar deflecting out of play. Staal hops over Myers and crashes into the end boards awkwardly. He appears fine.

9:12: Dupuis settles a loose puck deep on the left wing and slides a pass to Martin above the right circle. Martin blasts a one-timer. Miller slides to his left and makes a tremendous glove save. Coming back from commercial, someone is holdingup a tremendous "Lindysanity" sign behind Sabres coach Lindy Ruff during an interview:

7:52: Matt Ellis drives a one-timer on net from above the left circle on net. Johnson kicks it out with his left leg.

7:47: Weber flings a wrister from the right point. Johnson gloves it.

5:35: Niskanen controls a puck at the left point and attempts a wrister but ends up fanning on the shot and kicking it back to the neutral zone.

5:13: Johnson tries to play a puck behind his own net and ends up falling on his butt. This has been a bad day thus far for Johnson.

2:45: Neal circles around the net and flings a wrister on net form the left circle. Miller kicks it out.

2:21: Martin moves his way from his own zone oto the Buffalo zone. He tries tho hop over a stick check at the Buffalo blue line and is tripped up by Roy. That's two minutes.  Kunitz, Neal, Malkin, Steve Sullivan and Letang take the ice.

1:24: Kunitz winds up and cranks a one-timer from the right half wall. It hits Cooke in front. Cooke lumbers to the bench and heads to the dressing room. Oof.

0:21: The Roy minor expires. Not much going on there for the Penguins.

0:00: End of period. Malkin gives a shove to agitator extrodinaire Patrick Kaleta in the right wing corner of the Sabres zone.

FIRST PERIOD

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-What in the world was that? The Penguins looked like they spent the night partying across the boarder at Niagara Falls. They were incredibly sloppy. They couldn't even stay on their skates in situations. They really must not like day games.

-Brent Johnson needs to be better. The first goal wasn't really his fault, but he looked shaky after allowing it.

-Pominville came to play.

-The Penguins lead in shots, 10-7.

-Pominville leads the game with three shots.

-Neal and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.

-The Sabres have a 12-7 lead in faceoffs (63 percent).

-Malkin leads the game with 8:32 of ice time.

-Former Penguin Jordan Leopold leads the Sabres with 7:29.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Gaustad, one of the best in the NHL, is 8 for 11 (73 percent).

-Jeffrey is 3 for 6 (50 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

SECOND PERIOD

19:22: Things keep getting better for the Penguins as Dupuis is called for high sticking Pominville. Cooke, Adams, Orpik and Michalek take the ice.

18:38: Jordan Staal amost cashes in shorthanded again. Adams steals a puck off Ehrhoff on the right wing wall and deals a pass to Staal

18:16: Ennis booms a slapper from the right half wall. Johnson kicks it out with a loud "thud."

17:08: Bad times for Paul Martin. After he gets beat on a back battle behind the net by Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe ends up with the puck in the right circle and snaps off a wrister. As Johnson amesk the save, Martin attends to Gerbe and leaves Gaustad all alone to the right of the cage. Gaustad collects the rebound and jabs it over Johnson's left leg. Martin was on the ice with Letang there and they didn't seem to be on the same page. Either way, Martin did not make the right play there clearly. Johnson is pulled for Fleury. Hard to blame him on that goal but the Penguins need a spark. Gerbe and Leopold get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Sabres 3-0.

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16:21: The change may have given the Penguins a wake up. Malkin controls a wraparound clearing attempt by the Sabres in their zone on the right wing board. he deals a pass to Engelland at the left point. Engelland strikes a one-timer by the blocker of Miller. Sekera looked like he was screening Miller there. Bad play by him. What a shot by Engelland. Malkin gets the only assist. Sabres 3-1.

15:26: Sullivan controls the puck on the left wing wall and snaps off a cross ice pass to Asham on the right wing. Asham chops a slapper which Miller kicks out.

15:21: Off the rebound, Dustin Jeffrey is robbed in front by Miller.

13:54: Malking gets sprung loose on a breakaway as Regehr chases him. Malkin snaps off a wrister which Miller knocks away with a blocker. Huge save.

12:47: HUGE break for the penguins. After Martin pinches in deep on the left wing, Kaleta skates up the right wing wall on a two-on-one against Engelland with Gerbe. Kaleta jams up Fleury with a fake shot and taps a pass to Gerbe in the left circle. Gerbe has a wide open net but clinks it off the near post. Someone failed to cover for Martin on theat play.

9:09: The hole gets deeper as Kaleta gets a penalty shot after Kunitz kind of threw a stick at him. Kaleta races in on net and snaps off a wrister from between the hash mark. Fleury swats it away with his glove hand. You can hear a faint "FLERR-EEE! FLERR-EEE!" chant from the Penguins fans who ventured north.

8:37: Ehrhoff flings a wrister on net from the left point. Fleury gloves it.

8:14: Another penalty for hte Penguins. Cooke is called for tripping Sekera. The great Joe Vitale, Adams, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.

7:11: HUGE SAVE! Leopold flings a wrister a on net from the left point. Fleury kicks it out. The rebound hops to the right of the crease. Roy is there with the open net but Fleury is able to slide to his left to kick it out. WOW! Roy ends up with the rebound in the slot but two Penguisn fall in front and one of the blocks it. What action!

6:55: Off a faceoff win in the left circle, Ehrhoff cranks a one-timer from the slot. It hits the cross bar and deflects out of play. What a shot.

5:54: Off a brutal neutral zone turnover by Letang, Gaustad rushes into the offensive zone and booms a slapper on net from the left circle. Fleury gloves it.

3:46: Asham collects a puck behind the net and tries to jam in a forehand wraparound. Miller stretches out and holds it out. Tough save.

3:00: Sullivan gains the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass fro Park above the left circle. Park whips a wrister on net. Miller gloves it.

2:24: What a stupid play. Kaleta controls the puck behind the net. Kunitz rushes back on backcheck and cranks Kaleta into the boards from behind. Kaleta crashes into the boards face first. Gerbe gives Kunitz a shove from behind. Kaleta gets up almost immediately and rushes around attempting a wraparound. Play is halted. Kunitz is actually called for playing with a broken stick? What? Either way, the Sabres get a power play. Staal, Adams, Orpik and Michalek take the ice.

1:26: Shorthanded, Dupuis pushes the puck up ice and deals a pass to Park. Park lifts a wrister from the left circle. Miller fights it off.

0:24: Kunitz's minor expires. The Sabres did little with that chance.

0:00: End of period. Sabres 3, Penguins 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

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-The Penguins are lucky to only be trailing by two goals. They have looked incredibly sloppy today. They look almost disinterested in playing.

-They're talking too many selfish penalties. The Sabres don't have a great power play by any stretch, but begin on the penalty kill this much will limit your offensive chances.

-We don't know what to make of Paul Martin right now. He makes a nice play to draw a penalty in the first period then he gets dominated by Paul Gaustad on the third goal.

-Sullivan looks a little better on second line with Staal and Dupuis.

-Shots are tied, 17-17.

-Roy and Pominville each lead the game with three.

-Staal, Jeffrey, Neal, Letang and Malkin each lead the game with two.

-Martin leads the game with 17:24 of ice time.

-Leopold leads the Sabres with 15:55.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-The Sabres control faceoffs, 23-17 (58 percent).

-Gaustad is dominating, 15-19 (79 percent).

-The great Joe Vitale is 5 for 5 (100 percent).

-Michalek leads the game with five blocked shots.

-Leopold leads the Sabres with two.

THIRD PERIOD

19:32: Martin is on with Orpik. The Penguins' defensive pairings are all over the place right now. We're half expecting Alain Nasreddine to take a shift with Joe Melichar right now.

17:27: Cooke grips and rips a wrister from the left circle wide to the far side.

16:37: Regher hits Neal from behind into the right wing corner. A scrum builds up. Kunitz and Gerbe wrestle to the ice. Neal appears to have sold that penalty a bit on the replay. Either that or Regehr benches like 400 pounds. Regehr gets a cross checking minor. Kunitz and Gerbe get roughing minors. The Penguins end up with a power play. Staal, Malkin, Neal, Sullivan and Letang take the ice.

14:55: Miraculously, the Penguins pull within one. Neal deals a pass from the left circle to Staal in front of the crease. Staal chops a backhander by the skate of a sliding Leopold and under the right pad of Miller. It skids juuuuust barely over the line. Miller needs to make that save. Neal and Sullivan get assists. Sabres 3-2.

13:50: And the Sabres restore their two-goal lead almost immediately. Vanek deals a pass off the left wing to Stafford streaking down the right wing. He jabs the shot on net. Fleury kicks it out. The rebound slides behind the net. Stafford wheels around the cage and chips it inot the blue pain. Fleury is on his right side. The puck hit him in the chest and deflects into the net. What a bizarre play. Ehrhoff and Vanek get assists. Sabres 4-2.

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13:21: Leopold is called for holding Park. Malkin, Staal, Neal, Sullivan and Letang take th eice.

12:33: Malkin wheels from the left circle and deals a pass to Staal in the slot. Staal guns a one-timer which Miller kicks out.

12:20: Malkin hustles in from the left circle and snaps off a wrister on the short side. Miller fights it off and the puck deflects out of play.

11:28: And the roof completely caves in. As the Leopold minor is killed, Pominville controls the puck on the right wing, spins off a check from Jeffrey ans naps off a fee dto Roy int hes lot. Roy gets behind Niskanen and re-directs the puck withis his backhand through Fleury's five hole. What. Was. That? Pominville and Ehrhoff get assists. Sabres 5-2.

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9:39: A wrister by Pominville from the left wing is fought off by Fleury.

7:57: Malkin leas a rush into the offensive zone. He attempts a shot in the right circle but Boyes hustles back on a nice back check to stripe the puck.

7:32: Malkin lifts a backhander from the right circle. Miller eats it up.

6:36: Adams has a one-timer attempt off the left wing blocked by Adams.

5:25: Yet another penalty for the Penguins. Neal is called for charging Kaleta.

3:58: Another stoppage occurs as Cooke and Stafford mix it up in front of the benches. Both players are sent to their penalty boxes for roughing.. Four on three. 

3:48: Martin pushes the puck up the left wing and drives a slapper wide of hte cage.

3:17: Why not? Another Buffalo goal. Zack Kassian controls the puck below the goal line to the right of the cage. He deals a forehand pass to Ennis. Ennis pokes the puck off his forehand away from Fleury and Martin and backhands it into the cage By Fleury's left skate. Martin was tragic on that play. Kassian and Leino get assists. Sabres 6-2.

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1:58: The minors to Cooke and Stafford expire.

0:55: Dupuis whips a wrister on net from th left wing. Miler fights it off.

0:41: Kassian pushes th epuc up the right wing and whips a wrister on net. Fleury's left leg says no.

0:00: End of game. Sabres 6, Sabres 2.

POSTGAME

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-Heck, you probably better have two drinks after that game:

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-What a mess that was. All 20 of the Penguins players could take a bite out of that crud sandwich. They all had a role in that.

-Right from the get-go, they just seemed sluggish and sloppy. They gave the Sabres far too much time and space to work with offensively. Brent Johnson wasn't sharp. Buffalo was ready for this game. The Penguins were not.

-The Penguins' blue line was a mess today. The Sabres have a ton of fleet, slick-skating forwards and they exploited the Penguins' defense throughout the day. Paul Martin looked like the second coming of Han Jonsson. Kris Letang was sloppy with the puck. Deryk Engelland and Matt Niskanen were inconsistent. Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek were adequate but not particularly effective.

-We can't help but question if Martin is healthy. We have nothing concrete to validate that suspiscion, but we can't think of any other valid reason his game has fallen off he way it has. He just looks lost on the ice right now.

-The scary thing is, the Sabres were a last place team before today. Imagine if this was a better opponent?

-What has happened to Brent Johnson? He just doesn't have it. The Penguins need to address this position before the trade deadline if they want to keep Marc-Andre Fleury healthy.

-Jason Pominville played like a captain. He took his team on his back and led them to this win.

-The Penguins reverted to their 2010-11 ways by taking too many penalties. They spent too much time on the penalty kill.

-How different could this game have been if Evgeni Malkin buried his breakaway chance in the second period?

-The Penguins had a 26-24 lead in shots.

-Evgeni Malkin led the game with five shots.

-Pominville and Derek Roy each led the Sabres with four shots.

-Martin led the game with 24:22 of ice time.

-Jordan Leopold led the Sabres with 22:41.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-The Sabres led in faceoffs, 29-25 (54 percent).

-Paul Gaustad was 16 for 23 (70 percent).

-The great Joe Vitale was 8 for 9 (89 percent).

-Michaek led the game with seven blocked shots.

-Leopold lead the Sabres with two blocked shots.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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