FINAL: BUF 1 PIT 3
SHOTS: BUF 30 PIT 35
POWER PLAY: BUF 0/1 PIT 1/4
HITS: BUF 16 PIT 10
BLOCKED SHOTS: BUF 11 PIT 12
PIT: Sidney Crosby (41) assisted by Justin Schultz (36) and Conor Sheary (28)
BUF: Sam Reinhart (17) assisted by Hudson Fasching (1) and Marcus Foligno (10)
PIT: Nick Bonino (15) assisted by Ian Cole (18) and Tom Kuhnhackl (9)
PIT: Conor Sheary (21) assisted by Zemgus Girgensons
Buffalo had a great opportunity to open the scoring just one minute into the game. Zemgus Girgensons got the puck in the slot and was stopped by Matt Murray and then right after that Conor Sheary had a breakaway and was stoned twice by Robin Lehner. Lehner took a to the side during warmups and went to the dressing room but he was ready to play tonight. Lehner was fantastic last night in the 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Robin hasn’t done very well in back to back games yet this year and tonight he’s looking to turn that around.
It was a very entertaining start to this game. There were a lot of shots and scoring chances. Justin Bailey showed his blazing speed and fed the puck to Moulson but Matty couldn’t beat Murray with the backhand shot. No doubt that good old Dan Bylsma wanted to slow the pace down in this one.
Sidney Crosby gave a nice can opener to Ryan O’Reilly and I have no doubt that the NHL’s golden boy will not be suspended for it.
Ristolainen was given a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for hitting Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel in the head. This was a crushing loss for Buffalo in this game and now they would have to play 50 minutes with an American Hockey League defense corps plus Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe. I wouldn’t be surprised if Risto was suspended for his dirty hit. Somehow the Sabres were able to kill off Ristolainen’s 5 minute major penalty. Buffalo’s penalty kill has actually done very well as of late. Right after they killed the penalty, Tyler Ennis gave Matt Moulson a nice pass but he was stoned by Murray.
Zemgus Girgensons took a late hooking penalty and the Pens scored on the power play. Sidney Crosby scored a beautiful goal as he went end to end and danced his way around the Sabres penalty killers and lifted the puck with just one hand on his stick over Lehner’s glove. The Penguins would head into the 2nd period with a 1-0 lead. That was Crosby’s 41st goal and his 81st point on the year and Crosby just keeps on doing what he seems to always do against the Sabres. Lets just say that was probably one of the most eventful periods that Buffalo has had all season.
Jake Guentzel didn’t return for the start of the 2nd period after being hit by Rasmus Ristolainen.
Robin Lehner was tasked with making many big saves without Rasmus Ristolainen tonight. He made a few gig breakaway saves in the early stages of the 2nd period.
Buffalo was outshot 12-6 in the 2nd period. The difference between the 1st and 2nd period was night and day. The 1st was full of speed and scoring chances and the 2nd period was just another typical Buffalo Sabres period of hockey. The score would stay 1-0 in favor of Pittsburgh heading into the 3rd period.
Buffalo ended up tying up the game at 1 early on in the 3rd period. Sam Reinhart picked up his own rebound and fired it short side past Matt Murray to tie the game. Sam Reinhart is very quietly putting together a nice season this year. Fasching picked up his first point of the season on that goal.
Former Sabre, Chad Ruhwedel took a hooking penalty that gave Buffalo a power play midway through the 3rd period. But Buffalo couldn’t convert on the man advantage.
With about 5 minutes to go in the game, Nick Bonino ripped the puck short side past Lehner to put the Pens up 2-1.
Minutes later, Conor Sheary put the puck on net and then it bounced off of Zemgus Girgensons and into the net. That would be the icing on the cake for this game as the Sabres would fall 3-1 against the Penguins tonight.
Buffalo will face Toronto on Saturday night.