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The Confluence

Penguins win 6th straight after 3rd period awakening, 5-2 over Sabres

Well, they did it again.  As Shelly Anderson wrote in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, watching a Penguins game is not for the faint of heart.

DISCLAIMER:  I almost started calling this team the “Cardiac Kids”, but I quickly realized that since the Cleveland Browns of the late ‘70’s/early ‘80’s were known with that moniker, I wouldn’t be let in the Pittsburgh city limits the next time I wanted to visit.  Let’s just forget I ever mentioned it.

Anyway, after two periods of relative lethargy, the Penguins turned up the heat in the third period to overcome a 2-1 Sabres lead with four goals to win their sixth straight game with a 5-2 win over Buffalo.

Jordan Staal continued his recent hot play for the Penguins with two more goals, including an empty netter, and Evgeni Malkin had a goal and three assists to extend his streak to 13 consecutive games with at least one assist.

For whatever reason, it really seemed to me that the Pens came out a little flat tonight, a tad bit slow.  Combine that with the fact that the Sabres had just come off a bad performance on Friday night in a 6-1 loss against Columbus, and the Sabres came out with gusto.

The Sabres took the play to the Pens early on, they were aggressive on the forecheck and were the faster team to the loose pucks.  Their hustle was rewarded with the game’s first tally when Andrej Sekera fired a wrister that Marc-Andre Fleury stopped, but Jason Pominville was there to easily corral the rebound and poke it home to make it 1-0 Sabres about eight minutes into the game.

The score stayed that way until midway through the second period with the Penguins on the powerplay when Alex Goligoski fired a slapper from the left point, which Ryan Miller stopped.  The rebound came back to Goligoski, who then quickly passed it to Malkin on the center point.  Malkin fired a one-timer that Miller couldn’t completely stop, trickling over the goalline even though Sidney Crosby was there if it didn’t to tie the score at one.

The Sabres retook the lead late in the second on their own powerplay.  Clarke MacArthur took the puck on the endline and fired a centering pass to Thomas Vanek, who got away with a sneaky push-off on Mark Eaton to get open for the relatively easy one-timer to Fleury’s right to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

The Penguins tied the game again at two apiece with about eight minutes remaining back on the powerplay when they executed “The Whitney Play” (which I just made up, usually Ryan Whitney makes it).  Crosby had the puck on the right slot and fired a nice cross-ice pass to Alex Goligoski on the left slot and fired a wrister past Miller to make it 2-2.

About four minutes later the Penguins put their best shift of the game together for the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  The Pens’ third line of Staal, Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy has been doing a fabulous job through this six-game winning streak, and it paid off again tonight.  After an excellent shift of cycling the puck down low, Kennedy fed the puck to the end boards for Cooke, who quickly fired a centering pass to Staal in front of the net for the one-timer that beat Miller to make it 3-2 Penguins with about five and a half minutes left in the game.

They put the game away a minute later when Malkin took the puck into the Sabres’ zone on a 3-on-2 break.  As Malkin skated in on Miller he constantly looked at Petr Sykora on the right wing, but at the last minute, he passed it behind to the trailing Ruslan Fedotenko for another one-timer past Miller to make it 4-2 Penguins.

Staal’s empty netter with 24 seconds remaining closed out the scoring.

Other notes:

- 75th consecutive sellout tonight
- The Penguins have now played seven teams on their second of back to back games.  The Pens have only played in one back to back set so far, in Sweden against the Senators.
- Cooke once again had some huge hits, including one on Jaro Spacek that forced the Sabres to use their timeout after an icing call.
- Malkin led the Pens in ice time with 23:28.
- Contributing to the Pens’ frustration, the Sabres had 25 blocked shots.

The Penguins are back on the ice on Tuesday night at the Igloo versus the Minnesota Wild.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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