The Pittsburgh Penguins (10-5) will look to extend their winning streak to three games this afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres (6-8-1) at the First Niagra Center at 12:30 PM. The game will be a part of the celebration of Hockey Day in America. While Pittsburgh is coming off a hard fought 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, the Sabres are coming off a 4-1 win of their own over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.
One of the interesting match ups in this game will be Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek and Pittsburgh’s James Neal. Each of them has 11 goals this season, which is the most in the NHL. Vanek, 29, leads the NHL in points as well with 23. Neal leads the NHL with 7 goals on the power play and 4 game-winning goals. He has scored a goal in each of Pittsburgh’s last three games. In addition to Vanek and Neal, Sidney Crosby is only two points away (21) from tying Vanek in points. Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin are not too far behind with 17 points each. Seven of the Top 30 scorers in the NHL will be on the same ice tomorrow.
If Buffalo’s goaltender Ryan Miller starts in goal for the Sabres, he will pray that the game will not end like the previous ones have against the Penguins. In his career, Miller has compiled a 5-10-3 record with an .881 save-percentage and 3.41 goals-against average when facing Pittsburgh. Those numbers are among the worst of his career as far as playing individual teams. If the Penguins can continue their success against Miller, it may be a long day for him.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who has compiled an 11-4-2 record against Buffalo in his career, has noticed what Vanek has been able to do over his career.
“He’s been very hot this season and every year he is good offensively. He has a quick release and a good shot. He’s a guy we have to keep an eye on.”
- Marc-Andre Fleury
A total of 32 goals were scored by Buffalo and Pittsburgh in their four meetings last season. Pittsburgh scored 17 while Buffalo scored 15. Each team won two of the meetings.
Malkin dominated the Sabres last season by notching 4 goals and 4 assists in 3 games.
In the Penguins’ last 24 meetings, they have gone 17-7.
Crosby has a 13-game point streak against the Sabres.
With Vanek’s success so far this season, he has been able to help out his linemates Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson. Pominville (14) and Hodgson (13) are ranked 18th and 27th in the NHL scoring race, respectively.
PROBABLE SABRES LINES
PROBABLE PENGUINS LINES
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