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Pens-Sabres In-Game Blog

Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 10:31 AM / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Pens-Sabres In-Game Blog



SABRES 6, PENS 2





0:00: Horn sounds and this one is over. The Sabres pull out a 6-2 win over the Pens.

3:17: The penalty expires, but the Sabres still score. Ennis finds the puck in the slot with Fleury down and out from a previous save. Ennis goes forehand, backhand and score. SABRES 6, PENS 2

3:57: A couple of roughing penalties handed out to Cooke and Stafford. Despite the score, should be a spirited finish to the game.

5:25: Neal will go to the penalty box for charging. The dislike between these two teams is growing.

5:44: The Pens are still fighting. Vitale takes the net hard to the net, but is stopped by Miller.

7:55: Excellent backcheck by Boyes to steal the puck from Malkin and negate a 3-on-2 chance for the Pens. Buffalo is stepping up its defense in the third.

11:28: The Sabres jump out to a big lead as Roy sneaks behind Niskanen and re-directs a pass between the legs of Fleury for a shorthanded tally. SABRES 5, PENS 2

12:20: Malkin carries the puck in on goal, but his shot is stopped by Miller. Malkin screams afterwards. I love seeing him playing with such passion. You can tell he really wants to score.

13:21: The Pens PP goes back to work as former 'guin Jordan Leopold is sent to the box for holding.

13:50: The Sabres respond with a goal of their own to reclaim the two-goal advantage. Stafford gets a shot from the slot that Fleury stops. Stafford gets his own rebound behind the net and throws it toward the goal. Puck goes off Fleury and into the net. SABRES 4, PENS 2

14:55: GOAL!!! The Pens power play comes through with a clutch score. Staal got the puck in the slot and threw a backhander towards the net. The puck just squeezes through Miller and litterly clears the goal line by less than an inch. SABRES 3, PENS 2

16:27: Neal gets hit hard from behind. Regehr throws a hit from behind, cross check that sends Neal face first into the boards. Kunitz and Gerbe get tangled up. Penalty coming on Regehr. Pens PP gets a shot to cut into the lead.

After Kunitz boarded Kaleta, Gerbe tried to go after Kunitz, but was intercepted by the Pens. This tussle was just a little boil over from the last skirmish.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. Third period underway. The Pens need a few goals to get back into this one.

     "I'm optimistic going into this 3rd period. Two goal comeback have kind of been our thing lately "
                                                           @flydebs54






Fleury has settled things for the Pens. He's been a steadying force in this contest, keeping the Sabres from adding to their three-goal lead. He made several huge saves, including a penalty shot, with Buffalo really charging strong. The Pens have already been shorthanded four times in this game. They'll need to stay out of the box in third if they want to get back into this game - unless they can score shorthanded goals again.
  • Shots are even at 17-17
  • Gaustad is an eye-popping 15-4 in faceoffs (79%)
  • Engelland with his 3rd goal of the season





0:00: Horn sounds and the period ends. Buffalo holds a 3-1 edge on the scoreboard.

0:20: The penalty expires. Pens escape still trailing 3-1.

2:23: Kunitz & Keleta collide behind the net and then a huge scrum breaks out. Kunitz shoves Keleta into the boards from behind. He'll take a seat for boarding.

3:03: Some good work from the Pens' 3rd and 4th lines. They're getting pucks deep, cycling well and creating some scoring chances. Asham & Park with a couple key chances. Didn't convert, but doing the little things to build momentum.

7:07: What a sequence for Fleury!!!First he gets a split pad save. Then he stays strong on the post to stop the puck from being stuffed in. Fleury loses his stick and then makes a glove save. If you want to know what a premiere NHL goalie looks like, rewind that tape.

     "Jesus... MAF is keeping this score from getting ridiculous. If the win this, its due to him (again)."
                                                           @CharlieAmerk
     "dear Fleury♥ I absolutely love you♥ I may have been dancing for 10 years, but you're more flexible than I am. aaaaahhhh!♥ "
                                                           @jessielynnelove

8:14: The penalties continue for the Pens. Cooke gets his stick in the feet of Sekera and will take a seat. Sabres PP is back to work.

9:09: A penalty is coming up against Pittsburgh for pushing a discarded stick on the ice into the play. The officials are claiming that Kunitz pushed the stick into the path of the Sabres.

Kaleta gets a penalty shot. He skates and tries to go glove side. Fleury just gets a piece of it with the glove to keep it out of the net. That's a big time save by the 'Flower.' If the Pens get back in this game, remember that save.

10:21: Cooke is back on the ice, so thankfully he is OK after getting hit with a shot in the first period.

12:47: Martin gets trapped after trying to keep a puck in the offensive zone. The Sabres counter with a 2-on-1. Gerbe is setup with a completely wide open net, but he hits the post!!

13:53: An unbelievable backcheck by Neal leads to a Malkin breakaway. However, Malkin's shot is turned aside by Miller with the blocker. Neal's efforts though not only negated a great scoring chance for Buffalo, but also setup Malkin for a great shot. 

16:21: GOAL!!! Malkin gets the puck on the far boards. Two Sabres hesitate to jump on him. Malkin patiently carries and passes to Engelland at the midpoint. Engelland's one-timer beats Miller to get Pittsburgh on the board. SABRES 3, PENS 1

17:08: The Sabres tally again to take a 3-0 lead. Gaustad gets off a shot from the side of the net, gets his own rebound and roofs it for the score. The goals was almost identical to the Pominville goal, uncontested player at the side of the net. SABRES 3, PENS 0

Johnson exits the game and Fleury will take over.

17:19: The Pens kill off the panlty. A couple of good blocked shots from the Pens defenders.

18:39: Staal finds a free puck in the high slot and gets a great shot that Miller has to save. The Pens are really generating a lot of scoring chances with their shorthanded counter attack.

19:30: Refs calling Dupuis for high sticking. He'll take a seat and the Pens PK will get after it.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. Second period underway.


(Getty Images)





The Sabres defense and forwards did a very good combined job in that first period of containing Malkin. They didn't give him a lot of space to stick handle. Whenever he touched the puck, the Sabres were aggressive with getting someone on him physically. Malkin only had one shot and wasn't able to take over the game like he normally does. Let's see if Buffalo can keep that effort up over the next two periods.
  • Sabres scored two goals on first two shots
  • Pens had 0 shots through first half of first period
  • Pominville & Roy with one goal & one assist each





0:00: The penalty expires and so does the period. Pens find themselves down by two goals after 20 minutes.

1:15: Cooke hit with a shot while in front of the net. He heads down the runway to the locker room. I'll get an update as soon as there is one.

2:21: Derek Roy sets a trap for Martin. He successfully trips up the Pens blueliner. But the referees frown on such antics and he'll go to the box. Pens on the PP.

2:33: The Pens using Malkin-Staal-Neal on a line. Usually late in periods coach Bylsma likes to stack his top lines. He's done it before and it's paid off before.

3:19: This isn't game related, but Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was interviewed on NBC a few moments ago. Apparantly his tie has its own Twitter account. See the below tweet.

     "I'm on TV!!!!!! "
                                                           @LindyRuffsTie


4:21: Dupuis gets a great chance in front of the net on a beauty set up play from Vitale. Miller alertly makes the stop.

5:08: The Sabres kill off the penalty. Not much going on that sequence for the Pens as the Sabres did a solid job of not letting Pittsburgh set anything up.

7:05: Leino is in the box for high sticking. The Pens will go on the power play.

9:18: Miller makes a glove save on Martins shot from the high slot. 

Note: Not sure why, but Kunitz has been taking all the faceoffs for the top line instead of Malkin. Interesting move considering how well Malkin has been handling draws. The Pens must have seen something while scouting the Sabres and are trying to exploit it.

11:38: Pens kill off the penalty. Best change was for Staal, who smacks one off the pipe.

13:51: The Pens will have to kill off a penalty. Looks like Niskanen going for high sticking. Big time PK coming up. Pittsburgh does not want to be down by three goals. It's always a lot to ask a team to dig out of a deep whole.

15:44: The Sabres score again. This time Derek Roy. Roy curled the puck inside of Orpik in the far circle. He throws a backhander on net blocker side that goes in. SABRES 2, PENS 0

19:08: The Sabres strike first thanks to Jason Pominville. Myers with a quick pass to Pominville at the side of the net. Pominville is stopped on the first shot, but burries the rebound. SABRES 1, PENS 0

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. First period underway.


(Getty Images)



12:15 PM:
As noted earlier, no lineup changes for the game (as in scratches). Johnson will get the start in goal. Lines below...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Sullivan-Staal-Dupuis
Cooke-Jeffrey-Asham
Park-Vitale-Adams

Orpik-Letang
Martin-Engelland
Niskanen-Michalek

Johnson between the pipes.




11:15 AM:
James Neal’s new deal is the big news of the day, but in other news the Pens will be battling the Sabres at 12:30pm on NBC.

Head coach Dan Bylsma spoke with the media this morning before the team’s afternoon game in Buffalo. While most of the talk was about James Neal, coach did say that the lineup will remain the same, except that Brent Johnson will be in goal.



Coach Bylsma also talked a little about the Sabres.

“We played Buffalo, I believe, the eighth game of the season,” he said. “Watching them for the first eight games you saw a dangerous speed team, really dictated and gave teams trouble with the way they played. Their D is real active. They’re a part of that as well. In Game 8 we frankly got outplayed by them. We turned over the puck. They forced the issue. They came back at us with speed. I thought they were on their way to being a good, dangerous team. At some point in time that got off track. I still see those things in their team. You still see skill, speed, active D. The goaltending situation hasn’t been the strength like we thought it was, but you still have an elite goaltender as well.”

All the details on what you need to know about the game are here. My Sabres scouting report is below.






10:30 AM:
It's a great day for hockey, and a great day to be a Pens fan. The team made a big announcement this morning. The team signed 30-goal scorer James Neal to a 6-year contract extension, running through the 2017-18 season.

Michelle spoke to Neal and head coach Dan Bylsma in Buffalo this morning. She'll have more on later on Neal's new deal so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we'll take a look at one of Neal's snipe shots. A water bottle classic against Philadelphia. Enjoy.

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