Buffalo Sabres vs Pittsburgh Penguins 5/6/21 Game Preview

The Sabres close out their season with a two-game series starting tonight in Pittsburgh.

Leading Scorers:

Sam Reinhart (BUF) — 52 GP, 25G, 15A, 40 PTS

Sidney Crosby (PIT) — 53 GP, 23G, 37A, 60 PTS

Expected Lines: 

Sabres

Bjork-Reinhart-Olofsson

Asplund-Mittelstadt-Thompson

Skinner-Cozens-Ruotsalainen

Murray-Sheahan-Caggiula

Samuelsson – Ristolainen

Dahlin – Jokiharju

Bryson – Miller

Houser

Penguins

Guentzel – Crosby – Rust

Zucker – Malkin – Kapanen

McCann – Carter – Gaudreau

Aston-Reese – Blueger – Sceviour

Dumoulin – Letang

Freidman – Ceci

Pettersson – Marino

Jarry

Brett Murray’s NHL Debut

The Sabres 2016 4th round draft pick is slated to make his NHL debut tonight. The journey to where he is now was a bit winding. He started off in the USHL, then made his way to Penn State, only to return to the USHL as a 20 year-old after a year an a half in Happy Valley. After signing a one-year AHL deal after his journey career came to an end, Murray played his way to a two-year entry level contract on July 31st, 2020

I’m at a loss for words. It’s honestly something you work for, every player works for, for their entire life. To finally see your name on a line chart in the NHL is one of the coolest things ever.

Amerks/Sabres Forward Brett Murray before his first NHL game

Murray now leads Amerks in points in his sophomore season with 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 23 games. It was only fitting that Murray would be the 7th player to make their NHL debut with the Sabres this season. His big frame will be useful in the corners and in front of the net. A hulking forward like Murray has not been a focus in the Sabres forward group, so he has the ability to have a niche on this team in the future.

$Houser Stock is Rising 📈

The 28-year-old kicked off his NHL career with back to back wins against one of the best teams in the NHL this season. Houser’s 79 saves in his first two games are the most by a goalie in franchise history. He is set to start tonight in front of dozens of family members that are driving into Pittsburgh this evening. Houser lived outside of Pittsburgh for a while as a kid and now the Houser family gets to see him play against Sidney Crosby and the team they have watched for years.

I’m glad I got those first two (games) out of the way before I came here. It’d be a little more difficult if this was my first one, but when you play three games in four nights, you just keep the momentum rolling.

Sabres Goaltender Michael Houser before his 3rd consecutive NHL start

After a rough season for the Sabres, there is something to be said for the team playing as hard as they are with the lineup limitations they have. It’s easy to feel good about how happy the team is for Houser after his 2nd win. Any cause for celebration is welcomed by players and fans.

Stopping Penguins Momentum

Houser and company have their work cut out for them tonight. Pittsburgh is coming off a convincing 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins are tied at 73 points with the Capitals, but Washington has a game in hand. Expect the Pens to come out strong and sustain the pressure throughout the game. Winners of 7 of their last 9 games, teams know the playoffs is about what team is peaking at the right time. It will be up to Buffalo to stop the Penguins attack and do their best of imposing their game as opposed to reacting to the Pens.

Don’t forget about this guy: Sidney Crosby is still very much an elite player even though he has gone under the radar. The future hall-of-famer is remarkably consistent and in his 48 games against the Sabres, Crosby has 23 goals and 48 assists for 71 points.

Milestone Watch

  • Sam Reinhart is five points away from 300 in his NHL career
  • Rasmus Ristolainen is five assists away from 200 in his NHL career

News and Notes

  • Penguins are without forwards Brandon Tanev and Evan Rodrigues due to injury
  • Olofsson leads all Sabres with 4 points (2G, 2A) in 6 games against the Pens this season.
  • Mittelstadt has 6 points (2G, 4A) in his last 7 games and 16 (9G, 7A) in his last 20 games.
  • Will Borgen is out tonight, but is likely to suit up Saturday for the season finale.

Prediction

All aboard the Houser train! It may be a short ride, but we should enjoy every second of it. I’m really pulling for Houser to get a win in front of his family.

4-2 Sabres

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