Final – Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 2

A team that enters a contest on an 11-game winning streak is sure to be carrying a lot of momentum with them, just as the Pittsburgh Penguins were Saturday night in Buffalo. Momentum became the key to the outcome, as Pittsburgh was able to maintain theirs while Buffalo faltered any time they gained the edge.

Pittsburgh tallied its first two goals in under 9:31 of the opening period. The initial goal was a deflection in front of the net, and became Dustin Jeffrey’s first NHL goal in his young career. Less than three minutes later, Arron Asham put the Pens ahead by two with a hard shot from the point that beat Miller over the shoulder.

Penalties were abundant over the course of the entire match up, and late in the first period Pittsburgh found itself down two men. Tyler Ennis managed to sneak in towards the net and fake-out Marc-Andre Fleury before sending into the top shelf and cutting Pittsburgh’s lead to one.

Buffalo continued to pour it on with a number of solid scoring chances when the second period commenced, but couldn’t get any by Fleury, who went on to stop 34 of 36 Buffalo shots on the night.

The highlight of the middle period was a scrum between Sidney Crosby and Mike Weber. Crosby took some offense to Weber roughing him up during a rush, and after delivering his own forearm, took about four shots to the face courtesy of Weber.

The young defensemen, who only a few days ago was a goat for giving up a bad turnover that led to Boston tying (and eventually, winning) the game, got a huge ovation from the sold-out crowd as he skated to the Penalty Box afterwards.

Buffalo had a Power Play opportunity very early in the third, but was completely outworked in both ends of the ice by Pittsburgh. The Pens would halt the Sabres’ comeback at 12:09 of the period on another deflection in front of the net, this one by Alex Goligoski.

51 seconds later, Jason Pominville cut the deficit back to one after grabbing his own rebound off a previous shot and sliding it behind Fleury.

But Pittsburgh showed once again exactly why they came into town with an 11-game win streak, and less than five minutes later put themselves ahead by two for a third time in the game. It was a tough goal for Buffalo fans to watch as Miller tried to cover up on a shot, but couldn’t smother the puck in time before Mike Rupp poked it into the net from beneath him.

An empty-netter by Mike Cooke at 19:17 finally sealed Pittsburgh’s 12th win in a row.

Buffalo played a tough game against the team that leads the NHL in points. The Sabres out-shot the Pens through the contest and finished the game with 36 to Pittsburgh’s meager 24. Buffalo especially looked strong on the Penalty Kill, managing to kill off all four situations in the game where they found themselves down a man.

Unfortunately, the Pens’ timely scoring was able to bring Buffalo to a standstill any time they found themselves getting fired up.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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