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Penguins Report: Game Day at Buffalo

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 10:59 AM / Penguins Report
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Penguins Report: Game Day at Buffalo
The Pens play their last road game heading into the Olympic break tonight in Buffalo. Get all the latest here




CANDID CROSBY
Back-to-back games without a point isn’t a rare occurrence for a lot of players, but a lot of players aren’t Sidney Crosby.

Crosby enters tonight’s game having been held scoreless in two straight games for just the second time all season (also Nov. 6-9) and just the third time in 92 games dating back to the beginning of last season.

Crosby was candid when speaking about his (let’s be honest – relative is a key word here) recent lack of goals. He said while he feels he’s been getting chances, he thinks he can create more.

“I mean, you want to score,” he said. “I think I’d definitely like to have more chances. I think you’re always kind of looking at chances as kind of a measuring stick. And if you’re getting lots and not scoring, I think that’s a little more acceptable. But I think there probably could be a little more chances. So I’d like to find a way to generate those a little bit more.”

The guys have been talking the last few days about how much tighter and close-checking the games have been getting as we get deeper into the season and closer to playoffs. The change has certainly been noticeable, especially when it comes to teams trying to defend the best player in the world – but Crosby isn’t using that as an excuse.

“I mean, nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. “I think teams are playing pretty tight. But that’s something I think as the year goes on is not going to get any easier. I think it gets tougher and tougher as you get closer and closer to the playoffs. I think that it’s more or less got to come from me and find ways of generating offense, whether that be around the net or creating that with speed. Whatever that is, I think there’s definitely room for improvement and getting more chances.”

This game against the Sabres, however, may be just what Crosby needs. He enters tonight’s game with a 16-game point streak against the Buffalo Sabres that dates back to Dec. 29, 2007. Crosby has nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in those contests.

Crosby has points in all 13 career visits to Buffalo (8G-12A-20PTS). He has seven points (2G-5A) in his last two games here. During his career, Crosby has collected at least one point in 22 of 24 games against the Sabres.

--Michelle Crechiolo



GAME DAY REPORT
Katie and Michelle tag team to bring you today's Verizon Game Day Report...



--Sam Kasan


QUOTE 'EM


--Sam Kasan & Michelle Crechiolo


PENS TV SOUND

Sidney Crosby



Tanner Glass



--Sam Kasan


LINEUP NOTES
Marc-Andre Fleury will be starting in goal tonight against the Sabres. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma added that he hopes that Kunitz and Niskanen are "hopefully" maintenance days.

"Chris Kunitz and Matt Niskanen were not out for the morning skate," Bylsma said. "They will be just hopefully maintenance and be on the ice tonight. The rest of our lineup is game-time."

Forward Harry Zolnierczyk was called up yesterday from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and participated in the morning skate. Bylsma said as of right now, there are no plans for any other call-ups.

--Sam Kasan



PENS PICS
Michelle took some great pics in Buffalo. Take a look below...


Jimmy Neal sings the blues


Orpik spent several years of his youth in Buffalo. He's a real Buffalonian. Buffalon? Buffals? Buffaloer? Any of those?


Engelland notes the congruency of the pucks. Bylsma said "Engo" could play both forward and defense tonight.


Glass and Harry Z chat casually. Unaware that lurking in the background is a ladder....!


Speaking of Glass, here he is with Sidney Crosby. You're about to see a pattern...


Crosby on the move, but Glass is keeping surveillance


Crosby for the faceoff...There's Glass again!! He's become a Stage-5 clinger!!

--Michelle Crechiolo & Sam Kasan


MORNING SKATE INFO
Chris Kunitz and Matt Niskanen were the only healthy Pens players not at the morning skate. Harry Zolnierczyk, who was recalled from WBS late last night, did join the team.

Just like at Monday's morning skate, the Pens did not work in rushes. They did do some power play work. Jussi Jokinen and Paul Martin replaced Kunitz and Niskanen on the top unit, joining Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.


--Sam Kasan


SCOUTING BUFFALO
I did the scouting report on Buffalo last week, and my boss Sam Kasan did this one. See what he has to say about the Sabres going into tonight's contest...



--Michelle Crechiolo



LAST ROAD TRIP
Yesterday marked the last time the Pens players will get on a plane (for a team road trip, that is - a lot of them will be traveling to either Sochi or various vacation destinations in a few days) until Feb. 28, when they will travel to Chicago for the Stadium Series on March 1. We documented the boarding...


Geno flashes us the peace sign


Marc-Andre Fleury flashes a smile at Hall of Famer Mike Lange


The plane was parked like a mile away from the hangar (seriously, it was a hike) so they had a shuttle going back and forth


Linemates Sutter and Glass walked over together. Can we stop for a moment and appreciate how awesome Glass' socks are?


Rookie Olli Maatta with a lot of bags


Kobasew and Zatkoff

--Michelle Crechiolo



START THE DAY
Good morning from Buffalo, New York! The Pens are in town for their last road game before the Olympic break. They just played the Sabres last Monday, where goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who is coming off a game where he produced "flat out" the best save he's ever made in a 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa, pitched his fourth shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory. For a refresher on what happened in that contest, the recap and highlights are here.  

The Pens are scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate at the First Niagara Center. Here are a few (okay, a lot) notes on tonight's matchup to get you ready for the game...
  • The Penguins visit the Buffalo Sabres (TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 105.9 the X) at the First Niagara Center.
  • Pittsburgh is 10-3-1 in its last 14 games dating back to Jan. 3. During that span, only the Colorado Avalanche (.767 pct.) has posted a higher points percentage than the Penguins’ .750 pct.
  • The Penguins are 6-3-1 in their last 10 road games. Their 16 road wins this season are tied for second most among Eastern Conference teams behind the NY Rangers (17).
  • Pittsburgh is 11-4 in its past 15 games against the Sabres. During that stretch the Penguins have averaged 3.4 goals per game.
  • The Penguins are 6-2 in their last eight visits to Buffalo.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby enters tonight’s game having been held scoreless in back-to-back games for just the second time all season (also Nov. 6-9) and just the third time in 92 games dating back to the beginning of last season.
  • However, Crosby enters tonight’s game with a 16-game point streak against the Buffalo Sabres that dates back to Dec. 29, 2007. He has nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in those contests. Crosby has points in all 13 career visits to Buffalo (8G-12A-20PTS). He has seven points (2G-5A) in his last two games here. During his career, Crosby has collected at least one point in 22 of 24 games against the Sabres.
  • The line of Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Jussi Jokinen enters tonight’s game having produced 12 points (4G-8A) in the last three games –with all three carrying three-game point streaks into this contest. Jokinen has led the way with five points (1G-4A). Combined, the trio has scored four of team’s seven goals during that stretch.
  • The Penguins enter tonight’s game having registered 39 wins through their first 56 games this season. That puts them in position to reach the 40-win mark faster than any team in franchise history.
  • The current mark is 40 wins in 65 games during the 1995-96 campaign.
  • Looking further ahead, if the Penguins want to equal the franchise record of 56 wins (1992-93), they will need to go 17-6 or better over their final 26 games.
Stick tap: Pens PR

--Michelle Crechiolo

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